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Gay Taiwanese student jumps to death to protest discrimination in class

The part-time student has fought in vain for a refund from the course that torments him
NCHU's Teaching Complex Building where Chang took his own life
Photo via NCHU's website

A postgraduate student in Chinese Literature has taken his own life in Taichung, after complaints about rampant sexual discrimination in a mythology course fell on deaf ears.

The 30-year-old gay man surnamed Chang jumped off the 12th floor of a campus building yesterday evening (20 May) at the National Chung Hsing University.

Hours before the tragedy, Chang had told local newspaper Apple Daily the mythology course kept highlighting the traits and temperament that men and women should possess in the evolution of traditions.

‘The essence of men is culture and that of women is nature,’ Chang quoted his professor as saying, criticizing him for instilling discrimination into students against principles of gender equality.

Chang had stopped attending the mythology course since 9 April. In addition to complaining to the NCHU’s gender equity education committee, he had also asked for a full refund of NTD10,000 ($331, €242) – equivalent to two months of the part-time research student’s living expenses.

But his complaint was later rejected by the NCHU because the allegedly discriminatory or bigoted discourses were ‘not directed at him personally or any other specific students,’ reports Apple Daily.

Outraged by the university’s bureaucracy and inaction, Chang had already tried to kill himself four times earlier this month and he had vowed to defend his gender identity to the death.

The NCHU says it is indeed still possessing Chang’s appeal, but notes that no student can withdraw from a course or get fee refunds after the add/drop period, according to ETtoday.

It also says Chang was prone to emotional breakdowns and previous counselling had proved unsuccessful, the China Times reports.

The university has been termed ‘a killing machine’ by the newly-established Lobby Alliance for LGBT Human Rights.

The alliance points out it was only days ago when the Ministry of Education called on all education institutions to put the Gender Equity Education Act into practice for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

‘How many more have to die to shake this cold and indifferent world, how many have to die before another “Schindler” is found in Taiwan, who hears their cries in the corner and give them warmth?’ said alliance spokesperson Chen Chia-chun to the Taipei Times, about the paper tombstones that they set up on IDAHO for people who killed themselves after suffering discrimination.

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