Taipei, Jan. 3 (CNA) A local gay rights group on Wednesday released what it called Taiwan's first comprehensive report reviewing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights policies in Taiwan and urged the government to improve related policies.
The Taiwan LGBTI Rights Policies Review took one year to complete and reviews current government policies and LGBTI rights in such fields as work, family, education, health, law enforcement, media and sports.
"The government has long ignored the needs of LGBTI people when drafting its policies," and there is little research into their experiences and how policies might impact them, said Olivia Tsai (蔡瑩芝), secretary-general of Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ) Hotline Association, which released the report.
For example, the academic community still lacks evidence-based data about LGBTI individuals' experience of hate crimes and there is no comprehensive study on the physical and psychological health of those in the LGBTI community, Tsai said at a press conference.
The government's long-term care program also lacks statistics about sexual orientation and gender identity, she noted.
Other policies, such as the ban on gay blood donors, infringes on the rights of gay people, Tsai added.
On the issue of medical care, the report urges more study into the physical and psychological health of the LGBTI community to improve medical care services for LGBTI people, and calls on medical schools to include courses related to gender diversity in their curriculum.
The report also urges the government to assist long-term care facilities in providing services that take into consideration gender diversity, for example, not limiting co-habitation to spouses and not excluding people with HIV from their services.
In addition, law enforcement personnel, teachers as well as social workers active in the field of domestic violence and child and youth protection should received gender identity diversity training and take courses about LGBTI to improve their understanding, according to the report.
It also calls for the Artificial Reproduction Act to be extended to single women, lesbian couples and transgender couples, who are currently excluded and for the government to initiate more discussion about the surrogacy system.
The government should introduce an active plan to promote gender-friendly or unisex restrooms, and all schools should abolish gender-based uniforms, according to the report.
The report also supports removing gender differences in ID numbers and adding a third gender option in addition to male and female on ID cards.
Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said the report shows that discrimination against LGBTI people is still prevalent in society, and she hopes government officials will take the report's advice to heart and implement LGBTI-friendly policies.
For example, the Ministry of Labor, which recognizes female-friendly enterprises each year, could consider honoring LGBTI-friendly companies in the future, she said.
In response to the report, Chao Hui-wen (趙惠文), a senior executive officer at the Cabinet-level Department of Gender Equality, said the government is already tackling some of the concerns raised in the report. For example, the Ministry of Justice is mulling anti-discrimination laws to address hate crimes, she said.
Chao said she would ask government agencies to further deliberate the report's proposals.