'GAY' still banned from license plates in Taiwan

Lawmaker wonders why words like 'CAT' and 'PUP' also considered offensive

Last year's "Victory" registration plates were not on the offensive list 

Last year's "Victory" registration plates were not on the offensive list  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Gay rights groups are calling on the government to consider removing the word “GAY” from a list of 24 supposedly sensitive or obscene terms banned from the license plates of cars and scooters, reports said Saturday (Aug. 22).

In Dec. 2012, due to the rising number of motor vehicles, the government decided to add an extra letter to the two letters already present on registration plates. However, at the same time, it also drew up a list of 24 three-letter combinations that could not be used due to their allegedly controversial nature.

In addition to “GAY,” the transportation ministry’s Directorate General of Highways also took offense with “SEX” and “BRA,” CNA reported.

Gay rights groups said the government should end its ban and allow citizens freedom of choice, as each term means something different to different people.

It is not clear why the authorities should want to ban some of the terms. Other words are gender-related, and any negative connotations might gradually be reinforced if they remain on the list, activists said.

Since Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2019, some motorists might actually want to apply to have the letters “GAY” on their vehicle, and the DGH should accede to their request, according to the activists.

On her Facebook page, Taiwan People’s Party legislator Ann Kao (高虹安) slammed the presence of seemingly innocuous animal names on the list, including, “CAT,” “PUP,” “ANT” and “APE,” while wondering why some combinations that are close to English-language expletives are banned while others are not.