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Asia’s largest international LGBTI conference, ILGA-ASIA, will be held in Taiwan for the first time from October 28 to 30. More than 30 countries and 300 volunteers will participate in the event, hoping to promote gay rights through exchanging national experiences.

CNA reports, Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association held a press conference today, saying ILGA-ASIA (International Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association) will hold its Sixth Asian Regional Conference in Taiwan this weekend.

ETtoday reports, ILGA is an international organization promoting equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and bisexual people in regions of the world. The organization was established in 1978 and has more than 1,000 associations in over a hundred countries.

Ruth Baldacchino, ILGA co-secretary general, says that she hopes the Taiwanese government can draw a line between public opinions and the values of human rights and shouldn’t let public opinions infringe human rights. Also, the government needs to keep focusing on preventing discrimination against homosexuals on campus and in workplaces.

Ashley Hsu-liang Wu, executive director of the ILGA-ASIA conference, points out that this year the conference will focus on diverse topics and invite speakers specializing in marginalized topics, including elderly, handicapped and hearing impaired gay people, as well as the connection between natural disasters and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) groups that Taiwanese people are less familiar with.

Liberty Times reports, Madeleine Majorenko, director of European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), says the EU supports the promotion of equality and respect for different fundamental values, therefore it sponsored the conference EUR$ 40,000 (approximately US$ 44,044).

Legislator candidate Lu Xin-jie, who has been advocating for gay rights, says given that Taiwan cannot participate in many international conferences, the conference will be good opportunity to let the world see the island.

Wu, a PhD student of Thailand Mahidol University majoring in Human Rights and Peace Studies, says that early in 2004, Taiwan already passed the Gender Equity Education Act and is the first Asian country to establish anti-discrimination against sexual orientation laws.

He says, “In terms of legal protection at a national level, Taiwan has been making relatively forward progress."

Regarding the next step for gay rights in Taiwan, Wu says so far among all of the presidential candidates only Tsai Ing-wen shows a relatively open attitude, but the legislation related to marriage equality has not been officially included into the DPP’s policies. Wu says that the conference aims to protect future gay rights in Taiwan, but it shouldn’t always be done by the people.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang