文 / 倫敦講臺
儘管日前美國爆發奧蘭多激進份子威脅事件，倫敦同志驕傲遊行，依然於6月25日如期舉行。2016年的封街遊行，吸引超過75萬人、300個團體報名，在倫敦的臺灣遊子，也以「倫敦講臺」（Formosa Salon）名義參與，訴求「臺灣同志婚姻合法化」（Legalise Same Sex Marriage in Taiwan）。為讓世界看到臺灣在LGBTQ+議題上走在亞洲前端，倫敦講臺發起照片串聯活動，邀請世界各地的朋友一同支持臺灣成為繼美國、歐洲各國之後，第一個通過同性婚姻合法化的亞洲國家，將海外支持「婚姻平權、多元成家」的力量傳遞回臺灣。
Taiwan: Be the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage
Formosa Salon, a group of Taiwanese who study or work in London, will be taking part in the capital’s Pride march for the first time to speak up for LGBTQ+ community and same-sex marriage in Asia. Our hope is that Taiwan will become the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.
Although in the past ten years, Taiwan has made a huge progress in protecting LGBTQ+ rights, LGBTQ+ people are still unprotected by the law in many circumstances. Formosa Salon will march in Pride to send the message back to Taiwan and also to our first female President Tsai Ing-wen to keep her promise, and support marriage equality.
On 20th May 2016, the newly elected Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was officially sworn into office as the first female President in Taiwan’s history, and the first Presidential candidate who has publicly expressed her support for marriage equality. President Tsai’s victory represents a huge opportunity for Taiwan to legalise same sex marriage. President Tsai’s promise can be accomplished by her political party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which won a majority of seats in the Legislative Yuan (the Taiwanese Congress) in the last election. Having secured the political advantage the chances of getting legislative support have improved. That is why many believe that Taiwan could be the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage.
However, it is not only the same sex marriage bill that is being presented in the Legislative Yuan, the other two bills, the civil partnership bill and the multiple-person household bill, are also waiting for the public and legislators’ attention. These two bills progressively challenge the traditional concept of marriage which is only constituted by romantic love between opposite sex partners or even by sexual obligation, and focus on a mutual supporting and caring form of partnership and further reinforce the social safety net in the society.
In terms of LGBTQ+ rights, Taiwan has the most progressive policies in Asia. Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in education and employment has been banned since 2003 and 2007 respectively.
Starting from 2011, LGBTQ+ rights are included in the curriculum of primary and junior high schools to increase awareness of gender diversity. The more liberal and progressive work environment in the education arena for the LGBTQ+ community is evident by the case of a transgender teacher, Tseng Kai-Hsin, in a male senior high school. She underwent reassignment surgery in 2015. Contrary to her concerns about being forced to retire, Tseng’s decision was met with support from students, parents and the administration of the school. She is often invited to share her life story on the media and became a well-known role model.
Several poll results also show a more liberal and friendly attitude towards LGBTQ+ rights in Taiwanese society. One poll carried out by the Ministry of Justice between August and October 2015 reveals that around 71% of Taiwanese support same-sex marriage.
The wide public support for same-sex marriage encourage local governments to take initiatives to protect same-sex couples before legal marriage is available. As of May 2016, 10 local governments, covering over 79% of the population, have recognised the household registration of same-sex relationships. Although the household registration is far from marriage or civil partnership, it nevertheless facilitates same-sex couples to deal with legal issues whenever a certificate of relationship is needed, such as signing medical consent on behalf of one’s partner.
60 members of Formosa Salon are standing in solidarity with Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ supporters in London. We will line up with Taiwanese press and LGBTQ+ advocate groups (e.g. TAPCPR# and Hotline*) to launch a photo campaign, ‘LOVE FOR ALL’ on social media and live tweet our parade pictures and videos on 25 June. Our aim is to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ communities’ circumstances in both Taiwan and Asia as a whole, and speak up for ’Legalising Same-sex Marriage in Taiwan’, speak up for the right to love, and the right to be loved.