Taiwan: same-sex transgender marriage can stay

Government gives greenlight to yet another de facto same-sex marriage

Taiwan: same-sex transgender marriage can stay
07 August 2013

In a surprise decision that shocked even the couple themselves, the Taiwanese government has decided not to revoke a marriage between two trans women.

After a marathon meeting with colleagues from justice and welfare ministries and other experts, the Interior Ministry announced today (7 Aug) that the marriage license of Abbygail Wu and Ji-yi Wu should remain valid.

It said the Wus were indeed ‘a man and a woman’ in accordance with civil law when the registration took place. The government respects people’s right to change their gender, it added.

The couple was ecstatic and kissed each other on the lips upon learning of the decision. Abbygail admitted she had thought the government would either drag its feet or simply revoke the marriage.

‘I have not expected the marriage to stay intact,’ she said, as reported by Central News Agency. The couple said they may adopt a child in the future.

The Wus were forced to stay outside for most of the meeting with some 30 supporters who clashed violently with police at a point after being barred from entering. The couple were eventually given three minutes to make their case in the 3.5 hour meeting.

The Wus both transitioned from male to female in July last year. They tied the knot in October, but Ji-yi chose not to register her new gender until this year. Shortly after, they received a letter from the Interior Ministry asking to revoke the marriage, questioning their genders.

Even though the Interior Ministry has remained adamant that only a man and a woman can marry, Abbygail said in the very least it can now see diversity in gender and is willing to try and recognize different genders.

Many of Abbygail’s transgender and gay friends want to form their own family and enjoy statutory marriage rights and duties, but not everyone is free or ready to fight. This was what drove her to speak for other minorities, she said.

The longest distance in the world is where ‘you are my spouse but are nowhere to be seen in my passport,’ Abbgail said.

‘Marriage simply should not be limited to a man and a woman.’

LGBT groups are hopeful the Wus can be a precedent for more diverse forms of marriage going forward.

In 1994, the Taiwanese government had already said yes to a ‘homosexual’ marriage, when the husband legally changed his gender, Chao-yu Chen, National Taiwan University’s Associate Professor for Law, has told Gay Star News.

According to the ruling that underpins today’s decision, a change of gender during a legally recognized marriage does not affect a person’s marital standing or the person’s relationship with his or her offspring.

This and the Wus’ case have upheld people’s right to change their gender, effectively giving the nod to de facto same-sex marriages, Chen said.

A poll released this week showed that 53% Taiwanese are for same-sex marriage, twice as many as a decade ago.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Ugandan MPs unite in support of reviving anti-gay bill

Uganda's parliament passes resolution supporting Speaker of the House Rebecca Kadaga calls for Anti-Homosexuality Bill revival
No thumbnail available

This gay man spent £20,000 to look like Katie Price

His boyfriend thinks he's a little bit 'crazy'
No thumbnail available

New York Times article hints anonymous LGBT group might be supported by GOP dollars

New York Times article traces Use Your Mandate to Republican linked organizations
No thumbnail available

Dan Savage thanks straight allies for gay marriage

Creator of It Gets Better campaign Dan Savage launches Straight Up Thanks, a photo website recognizing straight people who actively pushed for marriage equality in America's latest election
No thumbnail available

US hides gayness of Pride movie

Promotional material dubbed a ‘betrayal’ of gay film’s central message
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Tom Daley's grandparents are 'confused' by his coming out - but supportive

Olympic diver personally delivered news to them 24 hours before releasing video to the world
No thumbnail available

Cameroon pro gay lawyer gets death threats

Alice Nkom a prominent lawyer and pro LGBT rights advocate from Cameroon has received several death threats via text messages
No thumbnail available

Gay community application fails, .gay domain name up for grabs by the highest bidder

Activist warns: gay bashers will be able to buy .gay domains and 'any legitimate use of the name by individuals, businesses, and organizations associated with the LGBTQ community will likely be drowned in a sea of sex'
No thumbnail available

Facebook game urges STI testing after bed-hopping

Facebook game Man Up focuses on the link between the number of sexual partners and the increased risk of sexually transmitted infections and HIV