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One in five Taiwan gays has attempted suicide: poll


TAIPEI, April 17, 2012 (AFP) - Nearly 20 percent of homosexuals in Taiwan
have attempted suicide due to discrimination, a survey showed Tuesday, dealing
a blow to the island's reputation as a liberal haven for gays.

About 30 percent have considered taking their own lives, and of these 18
percent have actually tried to kill themselves, according to the survey
sponsored by Gender/Sexuality Rights Association of Taiwan and other groups.

"Taiwan is not that open towards homosexuality," said Wang Ping, secretary
general of the association.

Taiwan is the host of Asia's biggest gay pride parade, attracting tens of
thousands every year, and last August saw a mass same-sex wedding, but the new
survey suggests homophobic attitudes still linger.

Fifty-eight percent of the 2,785 gay, lesbian and bisexual people who were
interviewed for the survey earlier this month said they had been targets of
verbal harassment, physical violence and sexual abuse.

Most of the attempted suicides occurred during adolescence, as did the
majority of the reported instances of harassment, indicating a lack of
education about homosexuality at schools, said Wang.

"The campus can be very unfriendly. It's common that gay students are
excluded and ridiculed so they feel lonely and under stress," she said.

Last year, Taiwan's education ministry was forced to drop plans to
incorporate homosexuality education into the curriculum due to strong
opposition by some Christian groups.

Gay rights organisations have warned that discrimination against gays
remains serious in Taiwan, and around 50,000 people took to the streets of the
capital Taipei in the wake of a series of anti-gay incidents last year.

Among them was a much-publicised medical dispute involving five patients
receiving organs from an HIV positive donor, who was homosexual, due to a
hospital's mistake.

The incident led to some suggestions that homosexuals should be banned from
donating blood and organs, which sparked an outcry from gay rights groups.

Compared with other Asian nations, Taiwan is becoming more open-minded
towards homosexuality, although the acceptance is still much lower than the
United State and Europe, according to some surveys.

The respondents in the new survey were aged 24 years on average, with the
youngest just 14 years old.


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Information in this article was accurate in April 17, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.