TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In a historic move, 27 Taiwanese and international organizations, including some top global enterprises, have issued a joint statement of support for LGBTQ rights in the upcoming midterm elections.
The statement calls for full equality under the law for all of Taiwan’s LGBTQ citizens, as well as the inclusion of LGBTQ issues in school curricula. It is signed by 17 private Taiwanese companies and 10 multinational companies in Taiwan, as well as six Taiwanese NGOs.
There are five ballot initiatives to go to public vote on Nov. 24 that will affect the LGBTQ community.
Referendums 10, 11, 12, issued by anti-LGBT group Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, respectively state that marriage is between a man and a woman only, LGBT education should be kept out of schools, and an alternative should be sought for same-sex couples. Referendums 14 and 15 respectively state that laws should be amended to allow same-sex marriage, and schools must adopt LGBT issues into curricula.
While many global enterprises with a presence in Taiwan have announced their support for LGBTQ rights internationally, this marks the first instance of their local divisions, in conjunction with local companies, officially declaring support for LGBTQ rights specifically in Taiwan.
As well as big names like Google and Microsoft, the list of signatories features local businesses from a plethora of industries, including financial services, consumer products, and technology. The news is likely to be encouraging to many LGBTQ Taiwanese working within these sectors.
The Legislative Yuan passed two amendments to employment laws in 2007 and 2008, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, but in 2016, Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association published the results of an online survey that showed only 51.1% of workers had come out to their colleagues.
The worst coming-out rates were reported in the male-dominated tech sector, which statistics have shown also exhibits higher-than-average levels of gender discrimination. An interviewee for Technode last month expressed he had only felt comfortable to come out in his workplace this year, after 10 years as a software engineer.
Maintaining discriminatory workplace environments that make LGBTQ people feel unsafe is likely to be preventing top talents from entering certain industries, and the signatories of yesterday’s statement acknowledge this issue. The companies stated that, not only is supporting LGBTQ rights the right thing to do, but eradicating workplace discrimination will help Taiwan retain its competitive status in the global economy.
Human Rights Campaign provided a full translation of the statement:
Statement in Support of LGBTQ Inclusion in Taiwan
Diversity, inclusion, respect, equality and non-discrimination are values that we cherish and seek to uphold in our companies and in our business dealings. We do this not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes our companies and our society stronger and more successful.
Research has shown that a diverse workforce is more creative, productive, and competitive. Policies that support and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace also help businesses in Taiwan attract and retain the top talent we need to remain competitive in the global economy.
As such, employees in same-sex relationships deserve the same right to marry in Taiwan as other couples. Furthermore, Taiwanese students deserve an education that prepares them to engage in a world where diversity and inclusion is prioritized.
For these reasons, we support marriage equality and diversity and inclusion efforts in Taiwan. We believe our businesses—and Taiwan’s society and economy—are strongest when we put aside our differences and find strength in our commonalities.
On Wednesday (Nov. 14), the Association of Taiwan Journalists also openly declared that it supports LGBTQ rights by advocating the contents of referendums 14 and 15, while stating opposition to 10, 11 and 12. The Taipei Bar Association also issued a similar declaration of support for the LGBTQ community on Facebook.
The full list of companies that jointly issued yesterday’s statement can be found below:
Canmeng International Inc.
CASETEK HOLDINGS LIMITED
Oriented Enterprise Co., LTD
QLL PTE. LTD.
Multinational companies in Taiwan
The Dow Chemical Company
Ernst & Young (EY)
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association
Human Rights Campaign
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Council for Global Equality
Freedom to Marry Global Action
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