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Dashcam Captures Terrifying Footage of Deadly TransAsia Plane Crash: VIDEO

Transasia

A TransAsia flight from Taiwan to Kinmen, China crashed Wednesday shortly after take-off, clipping a highway and landing in a shallow stream, The Guardian reports. The plane's terrifying descent was captured by a dashcam in a car on the highway the plane clipped. The TransAsia plane also clipped a taxi cab on that highway, the driver of which was sent to a local hospital with a concussion. The cause of the crash is not yet known. At least 19 people are reportedly dead. From The Guardian

RescueAt least 34 people have been pulled from the plane’s wreckage, which remains partially submerged in shallow water about 100 metres from the shore. Twenty-four people remain missing, according an early evening report from Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration.

The reported death toll has been fluctuating throughout the day, with estimates as low as 19 and as high as 23 by early evening local time. The administration said 15 others were injured.

The rescue effort for survivors is ongoing. Wu Jun-hong, a Taipei Fire Department official who was coordinating the rescue, commented, “Those in the front of the plane are likely to have lost their lives."

Video footage from the scene has shown survivors, including a young child, being pulled from the wreckage to safety. The plane's black box has been located, though the cause of the crash was not immediately clear:

“Weather conditions were good and the pilot had 14,000 hours of flying hours and the co-pilot 4,000 hours,” Lin Zhiming, a representative from Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

Watch harrowing video of the plane crash along with efforts of rescuers to save any survivors, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Taiwan Rejects Progressive Trans Policy Proposal

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Although Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare recommended a new policy to the Ministry of the Interior that transgender individuals wishing to change their genders shouldn't undergo psychiatric evaluations nor be subjected to surgery removing their sex organs, the Interior chose not to adopt MOHW's recommendation reports Gay Star NewsMOHW originally made the recommendation in December 2013 however, a press release from MOI dated Dec. 11 asserted that there is room for discussion on the issue because of the human rights of transgender people, but they also warned that "social order" and "harmony" must be maintained. 

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 7.39.10 AMThe secretary-general of the Executive Yuan, the cabinet in Taiwan's government system, mandated that further consultations involving MOHW and MOI will occur before a final decision is made, and the requirements of two psychiatric evaluations and the removal of sex organs for a legal gender change still stand in the interim. Transgender activists, including the Intersex, Transgender and Transsexual People Care Association, are upset that a policy recommendation that would've been one of the most progressive in the world in terms of gender transitioning is now sidelined. MOI's justification for its lack of action--the well-being and comfort of cisgender people--implies that the basic human rights of transgender people are wholly dependent on the approval of non-transgender people.

The rhetoric of balancing human rights with the 'will of the people' is considered typical of cabinet decisions under President Ma Ying-jeou. President Ma justifies not legalizing same-sex marriage using public opinion polls that purport to show the public backing his positions. With Ma in power, change for Taiwan's LGBT citizens is a steep, uphill battle.


Pioneering Gay Activist Chi Chia-wei Seeks Constitutional Review Of Taiwan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Chi-Chia-wei

If one were to compile a list of the great LGBT activists around the world, it would have to include Chi Chia-wei (above). 

Almost 30 years after he was arrested for petitioning the Taiwanese legislature to legalize same-sex marriage, Chi filed an application Wednesday seeking constitutional review of the country's marriage ban.

Chi's application comes two days after the legislature debated a proposal that would make Taiwan the first country in East Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Taipei Times reports: 

Backed by more than a dozen lawyers, as well as activists from the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), Chi said that the laws that bar same-sex couples from marrying are a violation of their constitutional rights.

With the legislature controlled by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), gay rights advocates say that the legislative path toward legalizing same-sex marriage remains difficult, while the judicial path might provide a viable alternative.

Chi spent five months in jail after petitioning the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage in 1986. He first applied for constitutional review of the same-sex marriage ban in 2000, but the application stalled and was never fully considered. 

Chi and his partner, who held a union ceremony in Taipei in 1988, again tried to register their same-sex marriage with a local government agency last year. But after an 18-month legal battle that included several appeals, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled against them in September. Now they are seeking a review from the Justices of the Constitutional Court, who have never addressed the issue. 

From The Taipei Times

“At the time [in 2000], I stood alone in battle, but I’m glad that more than 10 lawyers are willing to come forward and aid me in my application for a constitutional review today,” Chi said, holding back tears. “I am deeply grateful, and I would like to express my respect.”

In a spontaneous gesture to express his gratitude, Chi kneeled on the ground before the volunteer lawyers, before being swiftly pulled up.

Chi expressed his disappointment over remarks made by the Ministry of Justice and anti-gay marriage legislators during the legislative meeting on Monday.

“Medical evidence has already proved that gays and lesbians are not abnormal people, but we still have a group of homophobic officials and legislators that treat homosexuality like a disease,” Chi said. “[Their actions] have obstructed homosexuals in the pursuit of their own happiness.”

Polls show that more than half of people in Taiwan support same-sex marriage, including more than 80 percent of those ages 20 to 29. But the push to legalize same-sex marriage faces opposition from the likes of the Taiwan Religious Groups Alliance for the Family, which held a press conference outside the legislature on Monday, according to Focus Taiwan

"Human rights and marriage rights are not the same thing. People are born with human rights, but marriage rights are acquired," the group said in a statement.

The group said it does not deny the existence of homosexual people, but "marriage rights are given by the state and the society, and not something that people are born with. The state and the society have a complete say and the power to make decisions on marriage."

Watch a report from 2013 on the push for same-sex marriage in Taiwan, AFTER THE JUMP... 

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Will Taiwan Become the First Country In East Asia To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage? - VIDEO

Taiwan

Taiwan’s government today discussed the possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage, the first legislation of its kind to be debated in East Asia, reports Focus Taiwan.

The bill, which aims to replace such terms as “man and woman” with gender neutral alternatives including “spouses”, was drafted by the Opposition Democratic Progressive Party’s Cheng Li-chiun.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fce19b83970b-250wiIntroducing the bill, Cheng said:

“No one deserves to be deprived of their rights at birth to be on an equal footing with others just because of their psychological or biological differences.

“If we cannot break the cycle of discrimination, then everyone could become a victim of discrimination because of their respective differences.”

The proposed amendment cleared a first reading last year but had been shelved before a committe could discuss it largely due to opposition from religious groups. Bills must pass three readings in order to be sent to the president to be promulgated.

In a statement opposing the amendment, the Taiwan Religious Groups Alliance for the Family accused pro-equality politicians and gay rights activists of "pretending to be civic groups" to "terrorize" other lawmakers with opposing views on same-sex marriage.

In October, the religious anti-gay lobbying group called for police to monitor the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade in the interests of "protecting children."

Last year, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Taipei to protest against gay marriage while earlier this month, thousands took part in a rainbow run in Taipei in support of gay marriage

Watch a clip from Taiwan Pride 2014, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Thousands Run For Same-Sex Marriage And Gay Rights In Taiwan

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An estimated 3,500 people took part in a rainbow run in Taiwan last Saturday in support of same-sex marriage and gay rights, reports GayNZ.com

The 15 kilometer run aimed “to bring attention to social issues related to gender diversity, anti-discrimination and changing the family system to better understand and in support of gay marriage and equal rights.”

The event was organized by the founders of skincare company Abrazo K, who said in a statement:

“We now can feel how much meaning this event had.

“In the face of love, everyone is the same. Everyone longs to love and to be loved, so why should that differentiate between genders?

“I, myself, am a heterosexual, but I really have experienced the feeling of longing to be loved. It is also for this reason that we stand out and embrace love with everyone today.”

In October, an estimated 70,000 people took part in Taiwan Pride, the biggest pride event in Asia.


70,000 Attend Taiwan Pride 2014 - VIDEO

Taiwan Pride 2014

An estimated 70,000 people attended the LGBT Pride Parade in Taiwan on October 25th, reports Global Voices.

The number of people taking part was one of the largest since the parade was first held in 2003, making Taiwan Pride the biggest in Asia.

With this year’s theme ‘Walk in Queers’ Shoes,’ the event featured voices from marginalized LGBT groups including physically disabled people, HIV-positive people and sex workers.

A marriage equality bill was presented by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights in 2012. Although the proposed law passed the first reading in October 2013, the legislative process was suspended following a massive mobilization of opponents.

Gay rights activists this month began pushing legislators to resume implementation of the legislation. A public hearing for the bill was held on October 16.

Taiwan Pride 2014 Logo

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