Taiwan Pride (Pic:Kelly Smith)
A shocking new poll of gay people in Taiwan has revealed that almost 20 percent of those surveyed have attempted to commit suicide.
Plus, more than a quarter said that they have had thoughts of committing suicide due to hostility towards gays and lesbians in their environment.
The survey of 2,785 people on the “conditions and the pressure that gay people are subjected to in Taiwan” was conducted by the Friendly Taiwan Alliance, a coalition of LGBT and gender rights groups.
Fifty-eight percent of the respondents reported that they had been victimised because of their sexual orientation, while 29 percent said they had contemplated suicide.
Eighteen percent of those surveyed revealed that they had actually tried to take their own life.
Activists have said that the results make a mockery of Taiwan’s reputation as a haven of tolerance for LGBT people in the region.
“Taiwan’s lack of education on homosexuality has led to the aforementioned results. To build a multicultural and equal society, gay-friendly education and legislation are very important, as fair treatment is not a privilege, but a basic human right,” Gender/Sexuality Rights Association Taiwan Secretary-general Wang Ping told the Taipei Times.
According to data released by the Friendly Taiwan Alliance, 35 percent of the resondents identified as lesbian, 39 percent as gay men, 20 percent as bisexual, two percent as transgender, and four percent as uncertain.
Plans to include homosexuality in gender-equality education in schools in Taiwan have been postponed due to pressure from religious groups.
Homosexuality is legal in Taiwan and gays and lesbians are protected from job discrimination. Same-sex relationships, however, are not recognised under the law.
The annual Pride parade through the capital Taipei attracts up to 30,000 participants and is one of the largest in Asia.