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Feminism Around the World: Taiwan May Make History as First Asian Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

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Welcome to Feminism Around the World, a weekly feature here at TMS where we focus on women’s lives and feminist concerns … around the world. TMS is a US-based website, but we think it’s important to connect with women all over the globe to applaud successes, report injustices, and amplify the conversation around solutions to gender-based inequality. Because “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” – Teresa

TAIWAN: Lawmakers Currently Working to Make Same-Sex Marriage Law of the Land

Lawmakers in Taiwan are currently working on three bills that would legalize same-sex marriage in the country which, if they pass, would make Taiwan the first Asian country to do so. President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s current president and first female head of state, supports this progress wholeheartedly, and the first of the three bills is already listed for review by the government and could pass within the next few months!

As reported by the Associated Press, this is music to the ears of citizens like 35-year-old Taipei resident Su Shan, who is currently raising five-month-old twins with her partner. She wants her partner to be able to have the same rights as she does when it comes to their children. “Now, if something happens to the child, the other partner is nothing but a stranger,” she says.

Same-sex marriage seems to have wide support in the country right now. According to the AP, “Taiwan’s United Daily News found in a survey taken four years ago that 55 percent of the public supported same-sex marriage, with 37 percent opposed.” They tie that support to the fact that there’s no religious or moral basis for being opposed to same-sex marriage inherent to Taiwanese culture, saying, “That’s seen as a reflection of Taiwan’s ready acceptance of multi-party democracy and other inclusive attitudes, as well as the fact that Taiwan’s 23 million people largely follow Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions that take no strong positions on sexual orientation or gay marriage.”

Passing same-sex marriage in Taiwan would be just the example that other Asian countries need to follow suit. Yu Mei-nu, a ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker who is sponsoring the current bill being reviewed says, “It’s a big step forward for the history of human rights. If Taiwan can get this passed…it will give other Asian countries a model.”

There’s the inevitable backlash, of course, with those in opposition to the legalization citing potential burdens on the welfare system (same-sex couples rarely have kids, so they’ll be burdens on the state when they get old!), and hardships on children (children of gay couples don’t socialize well with other children!). However, most of the country seems ready for this big change, and it’s nice to report some good news in this arena for once!


MOROCCO:2 Moroccan Girls May Face Years in Prison For Kissing” (Jezebel, 11/4/16)

JAPAN: “Charity pushes for better LGBT awareness in Japanese schools” (Pink News, 11/4/16)

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Image of Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.