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Death of gay professor may lead to same-sex marriage in Taiwan

Joe Williams October 28, 2016

Jacques Picoux’s death was described as a ‘pivotal moment’ by LGBT activists in the country.

Seen by many as one of the most progressive countries in Asia on LGBT rights, Taiwan is yet to introduce marriage equality, allowing only limited recognition of same-sex relationships.

The government’s slow progress on the issue has been felt by thousands across the country, including Jacques Picoux, a university lecturer originally from France.

His death on October 16 became a rallied the LGBT community against the failure of the government to legalise marriage equality, despite clear public support.

Picoux lost his life after falling ten floors from his Taipei apartment block. His friends believe it was suicide, blaming the recent loss of his partner of nearly 40 years, Tseng Ching-chao, who died of cancer last year.

He faced further heartbreak after his lack of legal status denied him the right to lead medical decisions in Tseng’s dying moments.

Picoux later found himself with no legal claim over the property they shared.

Although tragic, Picoux’s death led the country’s LGBT community to increase pressure on the Taiwanese government – led by president Tsai Ing-wen, who pledged to strengthen LGBT rights when elected in January.

Pride Watch Taiwan has described Picoux’s death as a “pivotal moment” in the gay rights movement.

Following a surge in public sympathy for Picoux, a new draft bill aimed at legalising same-sex marriage was tabled by the ruling Democratic Progressive party [DPP] earlier this week.

“This story touched people,” the DPP’s Yu Mei-nu – who drafted the new law – said.

“The LGBT group were very angry. It has put a lot of pressure on our party and on other parties.”

Over 80,000 activists are expected to take to the streets of the country’s capital, Taipei, on Saturday for what is expected to be Asia’s largest ever LGBT pride parade.

More: Asia, LGBT, Pride, same sex marriage, Taiwan, Taiwan

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