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TAIWAN - Dec 22, 2002

On Dec 21, members of the Tongzhi (homosexual) Hotline Association gathered at their annual meeting to reaffirm their struggle for gay rights and public awareness of homosexuality. The non-profit organization has been active for four years now.

THA has private hotlines available Mon-Fri, from 7pm-10pm, with three full-time workers and 40 volunteers to answer calls. About sixty percent of the calls are from men, with half of all calls coming from the Taipei metropolitan area. In the last 12 months 735 callers have received assistance. Calls came in from gays and lesbians themselves as well as their friends and family members. Chen Ya-Yun, secretary general of THA, sees this as a sign that gays are gradually achieving acceptance in society.

The gay movement in Taiwan has blossomed in recent years with public gatherings, social and political activism, grass-roots organizations, and officially certified lifestyle magazines available on any newsstand. Gay and lesbian groups have been cooperating with the Taipei City government to raise awareness of issues affecting homosexuals and to stimulate gay-straight communication.

THA has formed alliances with other tongzhi groups and participates in gay rights demonstrations, including one last year at the Ministry of National Defense to protest discrimination against homosexuals. For more information on THA, visit their website.


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