Taipei: LGBT activists erected paper tombstones in front of the Presidential Office Building to honor those who fell prey to sexual identity related discrimination as a way to mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
One hundred paper tombstones had the names of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender men and women who committed suicide after experiencing discrimination, bullying or violent attacks. Most of them were young.
Holding white signs reading: “How many more have to die?” dozens of supporters attended the rally organized by Lobby Alliance for LGBT Human Rights May 17 in Taipei, reported taipeitimes.com.
“I only stand here representing the living LGBT people. We are not mourning, but paying a tribute to you [the names on the graves]. Your death reflects the injustice of this world, and your death is a stern protest to the world,” alliance convener Wang An-i was reported to have said.
Alliance spokesperson Chen Chia-chun said the use of tombstones was to help the public understand the reality of how people’s ignorance, bias or misunderstanding against LGBT people can deprive people of their lives, the report said.
Each paper tombstone had a QR code that linked to the life story of each victim.
Lawyer Wellington Koo said self-affirmation often comes from recognition from others and LGBT people often feel insecure as a result of other people’s ridicule or denial.
Wu Hsin-en, a 17-year-old transgender woman recalled painful memories of being called “perverted,” “disobedient” and being scolded by her grandfather for living her sexual identity. That led her to run away from home, after which she became a victim of sexual assault and was not allowed to return home, reported taipeitimes.com.
“We will always meet people that we don’t understand, but at least ‘respect’ them before we try to understand them,” she asked of society.
Chen said the alliance has approached the Ministry of Education for permission to give lectures on human rights to school students because it believes that when young people learn to respect other people and basic human rights, they will not to harm others.
She said the alliance will also approach lawmakers and encourage them to amend laws in support of LGBT rights.
In Taiwan same-sex relations is legal, although the Taiwanese face a lot of the same roadblocks felt elsewhere in Asia largely because of a cultural prejudice in promote only the idea of a family as consisting of one father, one mother and their children.