The editor-in-chief of a lesbian magazine has publicly come out as gay at Taiwan’s legislative building today (18 Feb).
Wang Ann-jiun, whose LEZS is billed as Asia’s only lesbian lifestyle magazine, made her sexual orientation known, as she and other gay rights supporters met with the Legislative Yuan President to seek help in facilitating changes to the Civil Code.
‘I was born a lesbian,’ said the 32 year-old Wang, in front of the President.
‘And in the days ahead, I will always stand up for gay rights and I will keep striving.’
Wang is from the family who founded Taiwan’s leading media empire The United Daily News Group, but social status has not kept her from revealing her sexual orientation.
On the contrary, for the progress of LGBTI rights, Wang said: ‘It is even more necessary for gay celebrities to be brave and come out of the closet.’
Despite a relatively accepting atmosphere, Taiwan, estimated to have around 2 million gays, rarely sees openly out public figures.
On Facebook, Wang has praised recently-out actress Ellen Page for showing great courage, hours before she also publicly comes out as lesbian herself.
The group of petitioners in Taipei today spans the political spectrum and includes people associated with the opposition Democratic Progress Party – which the Wang family’s flagship newspaper traditionally opposes – making their case an even more powerful one.
Taiwan’s gay marriage and family bill passed its first reading late last year, but it has to be given the greenlight twice more.
Towards the end of the meeting with rights activists, Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng says he understands and respects their demand, but stops short of showing any support.
He notes that Presidents of the Legislative Yuan should be neutral, with no standpoint. However, he promises to pass on the petitioners’ opinions in full to all lawmakers.
LGBTI campaigners have been increasingly exerting pressure on the Ma Ying-jieou administration. On Valentine's Day, they raised rainbow-colored Republic of China flags outside the Presidential Palace before holding a kiss-in in front of the Ministry of Justice.
On the judicial front, a veteran activist is challenging the government's refusal to register same-sex couples.
Below is a picture of last week's kiss-in by CNA News: