How Taiwan became the most LGBT-friendly country in Asia


Every year people come from around the region and around the world. And it happens in one of the smaller countries in Asia: Taiwan. Taiwan is the most LGBT-friendly country in the region. Last year it cleared the way for same sex marriage. We came to find out why this happened here before anywhere else. I’m Nikhil Sonnad. This is Quartz. Subscribe to our channel for more videos. Here’s why Taiwan stands out. More than two dozen countries have legalized same-sex marriage. They’re mostly progressive Western countries, like Canada and Sweden. But in Singapore and Malaysia, same-sex intercourse can lead to a prison sentence. It’s legal in Japan, South Korea, and China, but those countries don’t recognize same sex partnerships. But last year Taiwan’s highest court announced that the country would have to find a way to make same-sex marriage legal within two years. Taiwan’s progressive in other ways too. 71% of citizens support marriage equality, according to a 2015 poll. The first LGBT bookstore in the Chinese speaking world is in Taipei. Even Taiwan’s president has publicly supported same-sex marriage… Like in this campaign ad. Part of why Taiwan has embraced LGBT rights is its tense relationship with China. First a bit of history: During the Chinese Civil War, the nationalist Kuomintang party fled to Taiwan, to escape Mao and the communists. The Kuomintang established a dictatorship on Taiwan that lasted nearly 40 years. – The lifting of the martial law in 1987 opened up social space for a lot of previously repressed social issues. Josephine Ho is considered the godmother of Taiwan’s queer movement. – Things like labor rights, women’s rights, environmental issues, ethnic issues. All of these issues were bubbling at the time. The move to democracy opened up the country to political parties. And a free press. Most importantly, it created a huge rift with China, a one party state that thinks Taiwan is part of its territory and not an independent country. – The China issue is closely related to gay issue and gay movement in Taiwan. Because it can serve a very important function in promoting Taiwan’s image as a democratic state, as in was the international trends of gay equality. – The first time I had a feeling, oh wait I’ll probably I can get married. Wang Yichi met her girlfriend the day of the Supreme Court decision. Yichi is from Taiwan and Marjorie Choi is from mainland China. – Oh you’re from Taiwan, so congratulations to you today. And we would cheer us and we talk a lot. Then we became friends since that day so thanks to– – Thanks to the news. – Yeah. They both live and work in Beijing. – The LGBTQ in China still is taboo topic. I think Taiwan, I actually quite surprised many of my friends, they are straight, and they are very into this movement. A big part of Taiwan’s push for LGBT rights has been its youth movement, which is worried about China. – I think the young people are very anxious about Taiwan’s future. Miao Poya is a leader of Taiwan’s politically active youth movement, and is running for city council in Taipei. – After the Sunflower Movement I think the young people feels that if we do something, we can really change something. 2014 was pivotal for Taiwan’s youth movement. Students came out in force to protest a trade deal they felt would bring the country too close to China. They occupied the legislature for 23 days. And it worked. The deal was postponed. This activism offers lessons for Taiwan’s neighbors. Do you think Taiwan can provide an example for other Asian democracies? Cheng Chi-wei is a social worker with Taiwan’s oldest LGBT activist group, Hotline. He helped organize the very first pride parade. Activists from all over Asia come to Chi-wei with questions– they want to learn from Taiwan. – In other country gay always gay community, lesbian, lesbian community. But in Hotline, you can see LGBT in the same office. Other country workers, they always ask how. This group came from China. Chi-wei tells them that a big part of Taiwan’s success has been working with activists in areas beyond just LGBT rights. But even in Taiwan, progress is fragile. The high court’s decision led to a backlash. Conservative groups are trying to put a stop to marriage equality through a referendum that’s being held as part of this year’s election. – So this pink color is all over the city with this phrase “ai jia” meaning love family. And it’s telling people that they believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. This is a reminder that — even with the threat of China and a culture of activism — there’s no guarantee that Taiwan will become a beacon for LGBT rights in Asia. – In 2009, when the gay pride march was celebrating itself, its growing number, and size, suddenly the religious groups came up. I think that was a very very good moment, because people need to know that you haven’t done the job yet. You haven’t convinced people who have different values and different ways of life. Josephine wants to make sure that Taiwan is doing more than demanding equality in name only. – You shouldn’t be just working on the language of progressive families. You need to work on progressive ways of life, which will need a lot of time to discuss, debate. You need to learn to really respect values that you cannot tolerate. Maybe Taiwan’s real achievement, same sex marriage aside, is getting itself to a place where it could have that national conversation. – There’s a big gap between each other. So we need to find a chance to talk. – Coming to this parade it’s not going to just have fun, drink, and all that. First time in my life I feel I’m responsible. It’s really going to set example for so many other countries in Asia. Hey, we’re making a series for Quartz members we think you’ll really like. It’s called Because China. Because China is reshaping our world in so many important and interesting ways. Click the here to get a free membership trial for access to exclusive videos and articles Quartz members get a daily education on the forces defining the global economy.

100 thoughts on “How Taiwan became the most LGBT-friendly country in Asia”

  1. Taboo in Mainland China or not, as a straight guy (originally from Mainland China, but now a US citizen) I proudly say I support LGBTQ rights, and we had a great meeting, just few days ago, in Shanghai, to celebrate LGBTQ pride.

  2. Sodom and Gomorrah!! Sins everywhere! LGBTQ ideals are against God’s will. Lord Jesus have mercy on us and on the whole world.

  3. western degeneracy has reached taiwan. seriously how can you be proud of being HIV+? i hope they stay far away from kids.

  4. What would be some country and their population proud to be gay or LGBT, its not some kind of achievement at all. LOL

  5. I still think that same sex marriage is not right. For now there's no study that prove same sex marriage brought trouble and everything. But I hope I live long enough to see whether same sex marriage bring unexpected social issue or not

  6. I have a gay Taiwanese friend with dual citizenship (Taiwanese & American), and he said he wouldn't mind moving back to live in Taiwan. I get it now. Let's just say my gay Korean friend wouldn't decide to do that so easily, unfortunately.

  7. The most critical drawback of taiwanese gay community : lack of handsome dude.
    if you bump into a good looking guy in taiwan, i'm sure that the guy is from somewhere else like south korea or america0

  8. I'm a Taiwanese
    First,Thank you all for treating us as"Friends".But you all have to know,not everyone here is friendly.
    Have you ever seen our News Channel?
    Honestly,I think we have almost the worst News Reporter in the world,
    Reporters used
    thermometers as RULERS,Calculated Gravity as Weight and more.Some of them are shown as Retards,and some even keep telling lies.What the worse,our civillans-Keep believing those things what the News said,or even bullying the others who don't like the "gooood one", I'm not going to offend anyone,but honestly,they are a bit like the Nazi,just a bit
    Thanks for reading a comment from a Taiwanese

  9. Very happy and proud of that law. Taiwan did that. But you need correct that word—about those 2girls, you can write “from Taiwan “ “from China “, but don’t mark by “Taiwanese “ “ Chinese “, Taiwanese are included in Chinese. It’s a special province from China.

  10. Respecting Gay people is a Must and a Given! I am opposed to hating anyone or treating them different. 💕BUT….impossing this this as NORMAL to children and society as a whole is NOT! Not at all! Encouraging this type of disfuctional family is not right.
    As a citizens of this Earth, we THINK it's okay to modify everything to our own liking😔…until it's too late…and then we suffer the consequence of it. For example…look at the huge crisis in China today because they messed around with God's population. First they aborted all female babies…and then they restricted families to just 2 children! Now…. there are not enough women to wed and MULTIPLY with all these single men!!!! Same issue is in India!!!! Because of human stupidity once again…little girls are being kidnapped, and women raped! AND NOWWWWWW!!!! To add to the on going female "extinction" crises….WE WANT TO APPLAUDE AND ENCOURAGE SAME SEX COUPLES!!!!! ARE YOU ALL KIDDING ME!!!!!

  11. PEOPLE LISTEN UP!! THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND!! JESUS WILL COME BACK ANY MOMENT NOW, AND HOUR, AND DAY, ANY WEEK, ANY MONTH!! I KNOW I SOUND CRAZY BUT PLEASE BELIEVE ME!! IM SAYING THIS BECAUSE I LOVE YOU ALL DEARLY! REPENT OF YOUR SINS TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND EXCEPT HIM INTO YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL BE FORGIVEN!! BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THAT HE DIED ON THE CROSS FOR YOUR SINS AND THAT HE ROSE AGAIN! LIVE FOR JESUS AND OBEY HIS COMMANDS IN THE BIBLE!! AGAIN I KNOW I SOUND CRAZY BUT THIS IS NOT A JOKE!! I REPEAT. THIS. IS. NOT. A. JOKE!! IF YOU GET LEFT BEHIND, REMEBER: ABSALUTELY, ABSALUTELY, ABSOLUTELY UNDER ZERO CIRCUMSTANCE, RECIEVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST! IF YOU ARE LEFT BEHIND YOU CAN STILL BE WITH JESUS AFTER YOU DIE, JUST DO WHAT I TOLD YOU BEFORE. DO NOT BE DECIEVED! JUST RESEARCH BIBLICAL PROPHECIES ETC.!! I WILL PRAY THAT GOD WORKS IN ALL YOUR HEARTS! GODBLESS YOU ALL❤❤

  12. taiwanese is one country who have lowest TFR. It's okay but i hope gay in there at least make 2 child. I don't know how, maybe with they can have child from lesbian or other. Or you can be like Europe who import imigrant muslim to be your citizenship. You know what, now you would be shrinking very fast i think..

  13. Its absolutely fantastic but its not going to influence many Asian countries like China or Singapore anyway because those are kept in the dark by corruption, conservatism and religion.

  14. I guess its their way to get alot of tourist. They target LGBTQ cause they are so many. I guess everyone should have a freedom as long as u don't hurt anyone. Then everyone would be happy in their own desire.😊😊😊 Be free like a bird.

  15. I’m chinese but I live in the US; I always have to listen to my paternal grandmother preaching about how gay is wrong and abnormal. I, as well as my family, tend to think if her as senile. So, please note that most of the homophobia is from the older generation.

  16. This is so horrible why are people embracing LGBT 🏳️‍🌈 it’s horrible gay marriage is an abomination why are people supporting this kinds of atrocities. The world is crumbling. 😪

  17. If you can choose to live in a society with only racism and no sexism at all or a society with only sexism and no racism at all, Which one would you choose?

  18. I can't believe you guys skipped Argentina, in the graphs, which is actually the FIRST country in South America to legalize the same sex marriage on July 22nd ,2010.
    Your sources are pretty disappointing.

  19. Nakednass is a dipolass .so it's not a gay nass &lovenass it's makes us tracktion lass. So come in islaam it's original gaynass

  20. Someone: Hey, China didn't you legalize gay marriage?
    China: No, that was Taiwan.
    Someone: But isn't Taiwan a part of China?
    China: Nervous Sweating

  21. It makes me happy that the country that My family originated from is LGBTQ friendly. Especially since I am bisexual

  22. I had a neutral opinion on Taiwan's independence being an American and the son of Pro-China immigrants, but knowing Taiwan's stance on LGBT rights tips me in favor of its independence.

  23. This is why Taiwan will be destroyed, it already started from within, China won’t have to put too much pressure for it to implode.

  24. The biggest pride in Asia is in Tel aviv 250k people every year you should've say biggest pride in east Asia it would be more accurate

  25. Basically I understood that before china went into confucianism and communism, ancient china was actually very accepting to lgbt because they understood that is being part of human. During communism they tried to limit knowledge and understanding. Taiwan is probably more closer to the actual life of the good point in ancient china before communism pushed their ideals over. It's slowly changing in china now though because people finally realizes studies that this is normal and as proven, is not a disease.

  26. I am a crossdresser, even I thought I am gay, but now I understand I am sex reversal, I still can't support gay marriage, because that I understand gays are unlike lesbianz nor simple humans, they have intensively desire to having sex with others who can arose their sexualities, so it is incorrect and unwise to match two guys combination since they do not fit for their own physiological behaviors, instead of having gay marriage, it is necessary to develop and rationalize the sex industry.

  27. okay but can someone tell me why the clowns that are fighting against same sex marriage all look like they’re about to be fossilized?

  28. Even though in China mainland they legally don't recognize it… Gay ppl here ARE respected. Independently what u might think about this country… And I'm a foreigner! Besides this is a great business here. And Taiwan belongs China. 😉

  29. Its very sad that here in the Philippines being gay is still a very taboo topic and i hope that it would be normalized here

  30. Im in malaysia sigh* and u can get in jail if u did the banana and donut ritual wink* so i think im gonna go outta dis country lol jk

  31. Ya Singapore, if Taiwan can do this why can you I’m disgusted living in this country and I know my friends that are LGBTQ deserve their freedom

  32. Turkey, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, China, Japan, South Korea laws do not criminalize homosexuality, if it done in private, non-commercial, and among consenting adults. BUT, GAY/LESBIAN MARRIAGE IS ILLEGAL

  33. Taiwan is a very special place. Point. If America had one tenth of the freedom Taiwanese enjoy… they'd be a happier society.

  34. It always giggles my funny-bone to see how homophobes hunt down posts like these, and then rant and dribble their nonsense for all the world to see. Bitches need a more profitable hobby.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *