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LGBTQ RIGHTS/Transgender people face barriers in multiple aspects of life: Report

01/18/2024 07:00 PM
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Viva (center), a transgender woman, shares her experience at a press conference Thursday. CNA photo Jan. 18, 2024
Viva (center), a transgender woman, shares her experience at a press conference Thursday. CNA photo Jan. 18, 2024

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) Many transgender individuals living in Taiwan have experienced obstacles or misunderstandings in their daily lives, the workplace, and medical facilities, according to a report released at a press conference on Thursday.

Peng Chih-liu (彭治鏐), the deputy secretary-general of the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association, said at the press conference that there are many stressors and obstacles facing transgender people that affect how they interact and connect with society.

Transgender is "an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth," according to the American Psychological Association.

Of the 832 transgender people surveyed on their experiences in daily life, employment, and medical facilities in 2022 and 2023, only 8 percent had officially changed their gender identity on their ID, according to the report.

Regarding daily life, most transgender people avoid visiting public spaces that are divided along gender lines, for example, spas, swimming pools, and gyms. More than half felt uncomfortable using public washrooms and nearly one-third said they would rather experience discomfort than use the facilities, the survey said.

Difficulties can also arise in places where proof of identification is needed, such as polling stations, the survey said.

In regards to employment, 17 percent of transgender people were turned down from a job due to their identity, the report said.

Viva, a transgender woman, shared at the news conference that she was offered a job, but her superior then faced a backlash for "hiring someone of a dubious gender."

A transgender man named Deven also shared his experiences of coworkers speculating about his gender when they learned of his assigned sex, with some even calling him a "hermaphrodite."

At medical facilities, 14 percent reported feeling stared at and gossiped about, while 56 percent said they had been misgendered by medical personnel. To avoid hassle, 21 percent of trans people dress as their assigned sex.

The report added that sometimes experiences such as these can even hinder people from seeking necessary medical treatment.

On a more positive note, Peng also pointed out that those who receive support and understanding from friends and family tend to be more resilient to these obstacles.

The report concludes by calling for more education as well as more effort from the government and companies to improve the public's understanding of the transgender community.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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