Asia

 

 

 

A backlash against same-sex marriage tests Taiwan’s reputation for gay rights

Taipei, Taiwan — The gay rights activists raised sticks of incense and appealed to Taiwan’s most popular deity: Mazu, Goddess of the sea, protect us. Or rather, Mazu, Goddess of the sea, protect us, too. Just months ago, Taiwan appeared to be on the verge of legalizing same-sex marriage. It was to become the first… Read more »

After sex video, S. Korea accused of targeting gay soldiers

Seoul, South Korea — A watchdog group says South Korea’s army is hunting down and prosecuting gay servicemen after a video of two male soldiers having sex was posted on the internet earlier this year, stoking fear in an already persecuted minority group. Military investigators looking into the case have threatened soldiers to out their… Read more »

Bangkok plans to ban all street food by year’s end

The Thai capital’s world famous street food scene may soon be a thing of the past. Authorities say they want to impose order and cleanliness, but for many street food is a part of the culture. All street food stalls will be cleared from Bangkok’s roads by the end of the year in a bid… Read more »

Straight Asian Men Love To Kiss!

Japan’s thoughts on LGBT life still need a little work, but they might be getting some unexpected help. On the underground, Japan has a busy and thriving gay culture. Populated areas have plenty of gay centers and spots for LGBT people. In addition, the country originated the comic genres of Yaoi and Bara, which caters… Read more »

Chinese tour operators halt travel to North Korea

Amid escalating military tension on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese tour operators have canceled travel packages to North Korea, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. The report said Sunday that state-owned China International Travel Services and Ctrip.com International — the biggest tour operators in the country — had halted travel to North Korea. Air… Read more »

Indonesia’s LGBT community survives despite growing threats from government, clerics

Indonesia’s reigning transgender beauty queen holds her head up high as a wave of intolerance sweeps across Indonesia. Kiki, or Qie Nabh Tappiii, became Miss Waria Indonesia at a time when Indonesian officials, clerics and even government ministers regularly launch verbal assaults on the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Waria is the… Read more »

India passes ‘historic’ equality law for people with HIV or AIDS

India has passed a “historic” law ensuring equal rights for people with HIV or AIDS. The Parliament in New Delhi unanimously passed The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, which outlaws discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda called the legislation “historic,” adding that it showed the government “stands committed for… Read more »

Gay couple arrested for having sex face up to 100 lashings

A gay couple face up to 100 lashings by cane after a neighbours reported them to police for having sex. If found guilty the two men will be the first to be caned in Indonesia for gay sex, according to the Shariah police’s chief investigator. The men, aged 23 and 20, were arrested in the… Read more »

Japanese city becomes first to officially recognise same-sex foster parents

A city in Japan has become the first to recognise a first same-sex couple as foster parents. The gay couple in Osaka, who are in their 40s and 30s, has now officially fostered a teenage boy, who has been living with them since February. The older of the two men – who asked not to… Read more »

Circuit Parties Began Fading in North America a Decade Ago—Why Are They So Hot in Asia?

On Saturday, hordes of gay men and other dance lovers will descend upon a club space in Manhattan for the Black Party, an edgier, kinkier underground variant of the “circuit party,” a gay institution that has, for better or worse, defined a certain strain of macho, drug-embracing, sex-positive party culture since their initial appearance around… Read more »

Taiwan’s top court is hearing a case that could make marriage equality legal

Taiwain’s Supreme Court is hearing a case that could make same-sex marriages legal. The 14 judges are currently hearing a case that, if siccesful for the gay rights activists, could make it the first nation in Asia to introduce equality. Long-serving gay activist Chi Chia-wei attempted at registering marriage with his male partner in 2013,… Read more »

Japanese city set to become biggest to recognise same-sex relationships

Nearly two million more people will be able to have their LGBT relationships legally recognised from June. Sapporo, a Japanese city on the northern island of Hokkaido, has finished a public consultation which led to an overwhelming 1,500 people writing in to support the proposal. Opponents who wrote in were largely concerned that the step… Read more »

Duterte Opposes Gay Marriage in Philippines, Reversing Campaign Pledge

Manila — The Philippines will not legalize same-sex marriage anytime soon, President Rodrigo Duterte has said, reversing a campaign promise in which he pledged to support legislation to allow gay unions. Mr. Duterte stressed that the country was Asia’s bastion of Roman Catholicism, which steadfastly opposes same-sex marriage. He pointed to a recent issue of… Read more »

Royal Prince of India calls for decriminalisation of homosexuality

A royal prince of India has called for the country to decriminalise homosexuality. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil made global headlines when he came out as gay in 2007 on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He’s now campaigning for the country to end its historic anti-gay sex rules. Speaking at the Nagpur pride march, Prince Gohil said… Read more »

They say God punishes people with HIV’: experiences of stigma and discrimination among adults with HIV in Dili, Timor-Leste

Little is known about the experiences of people with HIV in the small island nation of Timor-Leste. This study explored the HIV-related stigma experiences of adults aged between 18 and 40 living with HIV in Dili, Timor-Leste. Participants were interviewed on topics related to living with HIV, both as key informants describing the experience of… Read more »

Nepal’s Civil Service Increasingly Transgender-Inclusive

Third Gender Column on Job Application Form Makes a Difference More than 600 transgender people applied for civil service jobs in Nepal last year, according to a government report released last week. LGBT rights activists hail the announcement as practical progress toward implementing Nepal’s identity-based legal third gender category. A reveller gets ready to take… Read more »

China’s gay scene attracts censorship and investment

Dating apps draw state money even though officially the lifestyle is stigmatised Chinese men are signing up en masse for gay dating apps China’s vibrant gay dating scene is attracting millions of dollars in investment, including from at least one state-controlled media group, even as embarrassed official censors curb the portrayal of openly homosexual characters… Read more »

Sapporo set to become first city in Japan to recognize same-sex partnerships

Congratulations Sapporo! Sapporo is set to become the first city in Japan to recognize same-sex legal partnerships. While law still defines marriage as between a man and a woman in Japan, progress is slowly being made to give gay couples some legal protections to their relationship. In 2015, Tokyo’s Shibuya district announced it would allow… Read more »

Philippine Education Department Says No to Condoms

Setback for Efforts to Curb Fast-Growing HIV Epidemic The Philippine Department of Education this week rejected a proposal to distribute condoms in public high schools. The proposal, made by the Department of Health, was an overdue response to the country’s worsening human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic, and its rejection will hurt efforts to slash new… Read more »

Saris swirl at rare Pakistan transgender party

Peshawar, Pakistan – At a party in Peshawar, the guests’ saris twirled as they danced to the music and fed each other pieces of cake, but armed police guarding the door indicated this was no normal carefree birthday gathering. The revellers were transgender, people who run the risk of violence in conservative Muslim Pakistan where… Read more »

Gay prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is on the front line of India’s war against AIDS

New Delhi: From setting up his own charity to hanging condoms on trees, Manvendra Singh Gohil has dedicated himself to fighting the scourge of AIDS since coming out 10 years ago as India’s first openly gay royal. A member of a royal warrior clan and heir apparent to the throne of Rajpipla in deeply conservative… Read more »

Terminal Love: A gutsy gay love story from the pulsating heart of Mumbai Kindle Edition

Intro: A new gay novel about love in Mumbai, by Vicky Arora: two men separated by age, class, and religious faith, find the love they yearn for in each other. This is their true story of braving all odds through the ups and downs in their lives.  What survives is their unconditional acceptance, unwavering commitment,… Read more »

On Taking Gay Rights From Taipei to Beijing: Don’t Call It a ‘Movement’

Taiwan moved one step closer last month to becoming the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, when a legislative committee passed draft changes to the island’s civil code. The proposed amendments have been sent to party caucuses for negotiation and possibly further revision before a final version is approved outright or goes to… Read more »

Wanted: Male or Female – Transgender People In Nepal Suffer Hiring Bias, Despite Law

Kathmandu, Nepal – Shila Singh Thakuri loved her job as a dancer, performing both traditional and modern routines in this city’s nightlife district. But she endured abuse and humiliation from her coworkers because she is transgender, she says, so she quit. That was almost a year ago, and she still can’t find what she’d consider… Read more »

With Manicures and Makeup, Japan’s ‘Genderless’ Blur Line Between Pink and Blue

Tokyo — With the precision of a craftsman painting a ceramic doll, Toman Sasaki blended foundation onto his fine-boned face, shaded the side of his nose with blush and shaped his lip color with a small brush. After 40 minutes of primping in his tiny studio apartment in Tokyo, he peered into a hand mirror… Read more »

India opens first school for transgender pupils

A residential school for transgender people has been opened in the Indian city of Kochi, to help adults who dropped out of school finish their education. Transgender people can face judgement and hostility in India, and around half of them fail to complete their schooling as a result. Sahaj International is the first school of… Read more »

Same-sex marriage passes first hurdle in Taiwanese Legislature

Same-sex marriage could soon become a reality in Taiwan, as a bill to legalise it has passed a Parliamentary Committee. The Committee in Taiwan’s Legislature passed an amendment to include same-sex marriage in the Civil Code of the country on Monday. The passage of the amendment is the first step in legalising same-sex marriage. Article… Read more »

Building a Community, and an Empire, With a Gay Dating App in China

Beijing — Ma Baoli was accustomed to secrets. By day, he was a police officer in northern China with a wife and a knack for street chases. By night, he led a life as a gay man, furtively running a website for gay people across China at a time when many were viewed as criminals… Read more »

Thousands in Taiwan call on their government to be the first in Asia to legalize gay marriage

As Taiwan enters the final stage of a debate over whether to legalize same-sex marriage, supporters of the move have made a final push to convince Taiwan’s lawmakers to pass the relevant legislation. On Saturday (Dec. 10), supporters of LGBT rights gathered at Ketagalan Boulevard, the main artery around the presidential office. Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan,… Read more »

This gay Indian couple have made a photo book of Delhi’s LGBT community after the recriminalisation of homosexuality

The London-based artists compare India’s recriminalisation of homosexuality to ‘post-Brexit, or post-Trump’ Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh say their eyes met across the room at a HIV conference in Delhi, which they used to call home before moving to London. Sunil, in his sixties, has witnessed the shift in attitudes towards same-sex relationships in India… Read more »

Gay Indonesians On Edge as Incidents of Brazen Homophobia Rise

Jakarta — Homophobic rhetoric is nothing new in Indonesian politics. In recent months, elected officials have labeled gay Indonesians as morally corrupt, inconsistent with national values, and “worse than nuclear warfare.” But the recent arrest of several gay men at a private party in south Jakarta’s Kalibata City was a shock for many, both because… Read more »

This transgender bodybuilder is crushing barriers in Vietnam

It’s Sunday morning in Ho Chi Minh City. Blistering heat is vaporizing last night’s downpour on the streets of District 7, an upscale area southeast of the city center and popular with expats. Under the unforgiving lights of a gym so polished it looks barely used, Kendy rehearses the poses that he hopes will win… Read more »

Following Attacks, Gay Bangladeshis Are Retreating Into The Closet

“We have never imagined the situation would be like this.” Bangkok (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Seven months after al Qaeda-linked militants hacked Bangladesh’s most prominent gay activist to death, the South Asian country’s LGBT community remains in hiding, while more than a dozen LGBT people have fled abroad. “The whole community has been sent back… Read more »

Taiwan debates gay marriage

It would be the first country in Asia to legalise it On The eighth floor in a gritty suburb of the capital, Taipei, sits the ten-year-old Wei-ming temple, a Taoist house of worship—but an unusual one. Nearly all the visitors buying bundles of prayers or bringing handwritten ones of their own to be burnt by… Read more »

The UN’s LGBT expert has advocated for a global partnership to end violence

He advocated for unity in his keynote speech at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) in Bangkok. Vitit Muntarbhorn said: “resolute action is required to stop the violence and discrimination affecting not only LGBT communities but also the human rights defenders working with them… “this goes hand in hand with the… Read more »

Young gay men at the frontline of AIDS prevention in China

Young gay men are the frontline of China’s battle to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, with new cases occurring at one of the fastest rates of any segment of the population. More than 2,300 students between 15 and 24 tested positive for HIV/AIDS in the first nine months of this year, with new cases in… Read more »

13 men arrested in Indonesia for holding ‘gay sex party’ even though they committed no crimes

Around 50 members of an extremist religious mob barged into the gay person’s home Jakarta police have arrested 13 men for holding a ‘gay sex party’ even though there is no evidence they committed a crime. Around 50 members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) barged into an apartment in South Jakarta, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar… Read more »

LGBT Jakartans: ‘Worse than a nuclear bomb? We just want to be accepted’

Intro: “In the Guardian newspaper Nov 26 was this report composed by a ‘typical’reporter Stanley Widianto which attempts to scare people into thinking that Armageddon is about to happen for the LGBT community in Indonesia. As usual the writer has found the worst examples of fear to re-enforce his negative point of view. He does… Read more »

What happens when a man contracts HIV in Malaysia

Humans of Kuala Lumpur About seven percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) are HIV-positive, and the trend is likely to rise, the Malaysian Aids Council (MAC) says. However, it is difficult for these men to come forward and seek assistance because they are often stigmatised – for being HIV-positive and then for… Read more »

Decriminalizing Same Sex Relations In Asia: Socio-Cultural Factors Impeding Legal Reform

Editorial note: (why former British colonies in Asia have resisted calls to decriminalize same sex relation) I. Introduction In 1967, homosexual acts between consenting adults were decriminalized in England and Wales.1 Almost half a century later, however, it remains an offense to engage in same sex acts or same sex relations2 in every former British… Read more »