Tsai Ing-wen

A politician who may run for president in Taiwan has refused to confirm or deny that she is a lesbian.

Tsai Ing-Wen, chairperson of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was asked by Shih Ming-teh, a former head of the party, to clarify her sexual orientation.

Tsai (54) issued a statement in response saying that she would not answer the question because if she does she “will become an accomplice of sexual suppression”.

She added: “There is nothing wrong with any sexual orientation or marital status and no one has the right to question others … We need to work harder to defend the human rights of all sexual minority groups.”

Shih responded to criticism of his question by insisting that he is in support of LGBT rights and Tsai’s coming out as gay would only be positive for the country.

“If she really is a homosexual and she is willing to speak it aloud, Taiwan’s international status will be higher,” he said.

Tsai, who is single, announced at the end of March that she intends to run for the presidential candidate for the DPP.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) is considered one of Asia’s most progressive countries when it comes to LGBT equality. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal but same-sex marriage is not yet recognised.

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