USER FRIENDLY: The Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association has urged the government to consider a person’s gender and sexual orientation when researching rights’ policies
By Ann Maxon / Staff reporter
The Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association yesterday released its Taiwan LGBTI Rights Policy Review for last year — which it described as the first comprehensive report on the nation’s policies regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex （LGBTI） people — and which suggests ways to improve gender equality education and address hate crimes, workplace discrimination, same-sex marriage, long-term care and transgender and intersex peoples’ rights.
The report was compiled through extensive literature reviews, field research and interviews with experts, and overhauls current policies on LGBTI rights, the association said.
“There has never been a comprehensive report on the government’s LGBTI policies,” association secretary-general Tsai Ying-chih （蔡瑩芝） said, adding that “previous reports on those policies are either limited in scope or lacking in statistical evidence.”
“The government has constantly ignored the LGBTI community and because of that LGBTI people are not sufficiently protected by the law,” she said.
The report found that, while many laws and regulations fail to address the rights of LGBTI people — such as the Civil Code, which excludes same-sex marriage — some laws directly contribute to discrimination.
One example is “the standards for blood donors” issued by the then-Department of Health — now the Ministry of Health and Welfare — that bans men who have had sexual intercourse with another man from donating blood, Tsai said.
The problems are compounded by a lack of awareness about LGBTI issues in law enforcement and backlash from groups opposed to LGBTI rights, Tsai said.
Based on the report, the association called on the government to improve legal protections for LGBTI people and to raise awareness of LGBTI issues in law enforcement agencies.
The government should take a person’s gender and sexual orientation into consideration when conducting surveys and research to make policies more LGBTI-friendly, Tsai said.
The association also urged the government to devote more resources to educating the public about gender equality and to avoid policies and wording that reinforce gender stereotypes.
“President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） has described her government as one that cares about human rights. We hope that the Tsai administration can do more than include human rights in their slogan,” Tsai Ying-chih said.
“Since the Council of Grand Justices ruled that same-sex marriage should be legalized, marriage equality appears to have been realized, but the report shows that discrimination is still prevalent,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu （尤美女） said.
The government is to look into the suggestions, Department of Gender Equality official Chao Hui-wen （趙惠文） said, adding that on Jan. 3 last year, it added policies on sexual minorities in its Gender Equality Policy Guidelines and has since been working on promoting the rights of LGBTI people, although it might take a while for society to change.
The complete report is available at the association’s Web site hotline.org.tw.
Accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu, second right, representatives of the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association yesterday hold a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Tapei to release the first policy review of lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender and intersex human rights. Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times