Contesting sexual and transgender prejudice

Advocating human rights of LGBTQ students in Asia

Authored by: Diana K. Kwok

Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138908499
eBook ISBN: 9781315694382
Adobe ISBN:


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Historically, the human rights movement initiated in European and North American countries focused on the rights of racial minorities, people with disabilities and women. Today, it has expanded to include gender and sexual minorities, who have been facing constant sexual and transgender prejudice without legal protection. There has been a dramatic social change to challenge sexual and transgender prejudice with respect to societal understandings of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) and of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer (LGBTQ) rights around the world. A noticeable example has been the establishment of legal protections of marriage for same-sex couples. Since the first same-sex marriage law was established in the Netherlands in 2001, 24 countries have recognized marriage for same-sex couples in the last 15 years. Hooghe and Meeusen (2013) found that in European countries, especially those that recognize same-sex marriage, levels of heterosexism or sexual prejudice “are significantly lower” (p. 258). However, no country in Asia currently recognizes same-sex marriages. The human rights movement for sexual minorities did make a step forward in Asia when a Taiwan court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in May 2017. The highest court ruled that current laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying violated their right to equality and were unconstitutional. Though same-sex marriage is not legalized formally now, it will be a landmark, paving the way for Taiwan to become the first place to legalize same-sex marriage in Asia.

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