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ELECTION 2024/Huang Jie becomes Taiwan's first openly gay legislator

01/13/2024 10:26 PM
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Legislator-elect for Kaohsiung's sixth constituency Huang Jie (second left) thanks supporters in Kaohsiung Saturday evening. CNA photo Jan. 13, 2024
Legislator-elect for Kaohsiung's sixth constituency Huang Jie (second left) thanks supporters in Kaohsiung Saturday evening. CNA photo Jan. 13, 2024

Kaohsiung, Jan. 13 (CNA) Kaohsiung City Councilor Huang Jie (黃捷) has become Taiwan's first openly gay legislator after being elected in the city's sixth constituency.

The 30-year-old Huang obtained 113,670 votes, or 51.01 percent of the vote, while her main rival, the Kuomintang's (KMT) Chen Mei-ya (陳美雅), a five-term city councilor, received 93,750 votes, or 42.07 percent, according to the final vote count released by the Central Election Commission (CEC).

She also faced off against the Formosa Alliance's Kuo Pei-hung (郭倍宏), who won 15,433 votes, or 6.93 percent, as shown on the CEC website.

Huang joined the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in August 2023 and she was nominated by the DPP after Chao Tian-lin (趙天麟), a three-term DPP lawmaker, dropped his bid for reelection due to his former affair with a Chinese woman becoming public knowledge.

Huang expressed gratitude to Chao and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) for believing in and supporting her during a speech at her campaign headquarters.

Thanking voters for their support and her campaign team for their hard work, the young politician said the "Kaohsiung spirit" -- the willingness to give young, hardworking people opportunities to serve -- had prevailed.

Winning the election is not the end, but the beginning of responsibility, she said.

"I will continue to safeguard [the wellbeing of] Kaohsiung and work to make it a place that shines internationally," she added.

Huang entered politics in 2018 and was elected to Kaohsiung City Council on the New Power Party (NPP) ticket, representing Fongshan District.

She sprang into the spotlight after rolling her eyes at then-Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the KMT during a city council session in May 2019 and was dubbed "the queen of eye-rolling" by netizens.

Huang left the NPP in August 2020 but continued to represent Fongshan as an independent city councilor. She survived a recall in February 2021 during which she received significant support from the DPP.

In April 2023, Huang shared her coming out experience with the public. She said that she had not come out publicly when first starting her political career, but after she did, some voters had told her that she had given them courage.

Huang added that people campaigning for her recall had attacked her for being gay, which made her realize that there still needed to be advancements in Taiwan's society in terms of ensuring equality for all and that she hoped to promote that through her involvement in politics.

Huang was reelected as a city councilor as an independent in 2022, with 27,744 votes -- the highest number in the southern Taiwan city.

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party's Miao Po-ya (苗博雅), who is also openly gay, lost in the legislative election for Taipei's sixth constituency.

(By Tsai Meng-yu and Bernadette Hsiao)

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