news

Gay professor's death may see Taiwan become the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage

2016-10-28
The death of a gay professor in Taiwan may spark an LGBT rights push that could see the country legalise same-sex marriage by the end of next year, the Guardian reports. Over 80,000 activists and LGBT people are predicted to take to the streets of capital city Taipei this weekend for what could be Asia's largest ever Pride; the swell of support this year has been sparked by the tragic death of a professor who lived in the country. Jacques Picoux, originally from France, died on October 16 after falling from his tenth floor apartment block. His friends believe he had killed himself, following a bout of depression triggered by the death of his partner of 35 years, Taiwanese Tseng Ching-chao. Because of the lack of legal rights for same-sex partners in Taiwan, Jacques was excluded from making decisions about his partner's healthcare during the final days of his life, and had no legal claim over the property they shared together. “How many more human lives do we have to lose as a result of the government’s gross negligence?” the Taiwan LGBT Hotline Association protested. His death sparked outrage among the LGBT community, who have hit out at the Taiwanese government, who had promised to improve equality when they were elected earlier this year. The deaths of Picoux and Ching-chao have generated such a huge outpouring of sympathy that LGBT lobbying group Pride Watch Taiwan, have called it a "pivotal moment" in the country's LGBT rights movement. Since Picoux's death, a new draft bill by the ruling political party was put forward to amend laws in favour of LGBT families. “This story touched people,” Taiwanese parliamentarian Yu Mei-nushe said. “The LGBT group were very angry. It has put a lot of pressure on our party and on other parties.” Pride Watch activist, Cindy Su, believes that the bill has enough support to pass: “We actually can see that there are about 66 legislators who will probably vote yes on marriage equality,” explained. “That’s a majority of 58.4%, the first time in Taiwanese history that we have more than half.” Read more: Jeremy Corbyn commits to adding LGBT history to the curriculum if he becomes Prime Minister HIV 'Patient Zero' cleared after research finds he didn't spread HIV to the US