Presidential Candidate In Taiwan Refuses To Answer Gay Question

The female chair of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen, who is running for the presidency in that country is garnering attention for her refusal to answer a question about her sexuality. AFP reports:

"I don't want to answer his question and I most certainly won't do it. If I answer him I will become an accomplice of sexual suppression," said Tsai Ing-Wen, chairwoman of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

TsaiTsai, who is 54 and single, had been asked about her sexuality by a former chairman of the party, Shih Ming-teh.
"There is nothing wrong with any sexual orientation or marital status and no one has the right to question others … We need to work harder to defend the human rights of all sexual minority groups," she said in a statement.

Shih had drawn criticism from gay and women's rights groups for asking Tsai about her sexuality. "A presidential candidate has to talk about his or her sexual orientation, which will affect his or her judgement call as a president," Shih said in footage aired by local television. "If she really is a homosexual and she is willing to speak it aloud, Taiwan's international status will be higher," he said.

Polls show that Tsai is slightly behind her opponent in approval ratings.


  1. joes says

    It’s hard for me to outright say she is closeted or being silly about not answering, because I do not know what type of rules govern their elections.

    I know in some countries it is common for presidential candidates to not discuss religion. My question here would be if in Taiwan it is common for candidates to discuss their personal lives (relationships and what not), or if the country finds that to be an inappropriate way to judge national leaders.

  2. MadM@ says

    “We need to work harder to defend the human rights of all sexual minority groups”

    Hm I wish US presidential candidates said that more often, regardless of orientation. She might be making a point that you can be an older single woman and that doesn’t automatically make one a lesbian. Maybe she considers herself asexual?

  3. GregV says

    It’s hard for me to imagine any type of job I would ever apply for where I would not consider it grossly inappropriate to ask me at the interview personal questions like: “What is your sexual orientation?”
    “Are you married?”
    “Have you ever been engaged?”
    “Do you plan to be married? If so, to someone of which sex? What race? Would you date someone who’s overweight?”

    The only time such questions are fair game, in my opinion, is if the candidate has not supported fair treatment for people in OTHER relationship categories or of other orientations.
    Anyone who doesn’t stick their nose into other people’s personal lives shouldn’t have to explain their own.

  4. CJS says

    Taiwan is one of the most progressive countries in Asia which may be why Taipei is quickly becoming one of the most popular gay vacation cities there. While other Asian countries openly discriminate against gays (e.g., Japan’s PM recently tried to distance himself from any “accusations” of accepting gays; China frequently raids gay bars; Malaysia has laws against homosexuality; etc.), Taiwan currently has a bill on the floor of its legislature that would allow same-sex marriage, though it has been stalled for a few years now. The presidential candidate’s response is right in line with Taiwan’s attitude; sexuality is a very private matter, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is generally not acceptable. Gay or not, kudos to her.

  5. Giang says

    There´s still no (important) open gay politicians in Taiwan, although the society there appears much more tolerant than in other Asian countries.
    That´s why I, as a gay, wish me a gay president very much.
    But Ms Tsai is obviously not gay according to an early interview, at least at that time she had a boyfreind many years ago. (lol)

    I also agree with the opinion of Ms Tsai, nobody should be forced to answer such a question about his/her relationships, sexual orientation etc.
    And it’s just stupid, to think that the ability or quality of a presidential candidate would depend on his/her sexual orientation.

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