Gender News in Taiwan
Heterosexual, gay couples hold joint weddings to promote gender equality

A heterosexual couple and two homosexual couples yesterday held joint weddings in Taipei to promote gender equality, one day after Taiwan became the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Veteran gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei (祁家威) bore witness to the weddings of Wu Shih-liang (吳士良) and Pan Yi-ling (潘怡琳), who are heterosexual; lesbian YouTubers who prefer to be known as Amber and “Huan-huan” (歡歡); and gay couple “A-yo” (阿佑) and “A-to” (阿拓).

All three couples said that their families had disapproved of their relationships.

One participant said that they were from a churchgoing family.

Another said that in an attempt to change their sexual orientation, their relatives placed an amulet in water and forced them to drink it.

However, they never gave up on communicating with their families, they said.

Chi, donning rainbow-colored attire, said that when he first lobbied the Legislative Yuan to legalize same-sex marriage, some called him a “pervert.”

Although Taiwan was not the world’s first nation to legalize same-sex marriage, it is in the forefront at 27th, Chi said, expressing the hope that other Asian nations would also legalize same-sex marriage soon.

He encouraged the newlyweds to love, trust, help and tolerate each other, saying that is the key to a happy family.

Commenting on the public’s stigmatization of HIV, he compared the disease to the common cold, saying that the fatality rate of HIV could be reduced to as low as 0.1 percent.

Taiwan AIDS Society president Hung Chien-ching (洪建清) called on newlywed homosexual couples to look out for each other’s health and undergo all necessary screening to keep their marriage intimate, healthy and safe.

HIV is like hypertension or diabetes in that it can be controlled if a carrier receives proper treatment and care, he said.

Marriage Equality Platform convener Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔) said that HIV was used as a weapon against the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage.

Medical experts have underlined the importance of screenings in HIV prevention, Lu said, calling on the public to form fact-based opinions on the disease and people with different sexual orientations.

In related news, the second Yilan Pride Parade is to be held on Saturday next week, one day after the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Constitutional Interpretation No. 748 (司法院釋字第748號解釋施行法) takes effect and same-sex couples may start registering their marriage at household registration offices.

The parade is to start at 2pm at Jhongshan Park (中山公園) in Yilan County’s Luodong Township (羅東).

In keeping with local wedding tradition, members of the Yilan Pride Parade Alliance yesterday set off firecrackers and stepped on tiles at a news conference to promote the event.

The theme of the parade is “home,” which is meant to convey the message that there are many kinds of homes, such as those run by grandparents, single parents or Aboriginal parents, as well as a home run by same-sex couples.

The alliance hopes to attract 1,000 participants to join the parade, which is to take place along a 4.4km route.


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