Taiwan makes history with election of Huang Jie, its first ever out LGBTQ+ legislator

Taiwan has taken a huge leap forward for LGBTQ+ representation in the country, after voters elected an out LGBTQ+ legislator for the first time.

Huang Jie, a member of the left leaning Democratic Progressive Party, won Kaohsiung’s 6th District seat in the Legislative Yuan during the 2024 national elections on Saturday (13 January).

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), Jie, 30, won 51 per cent of the vote whilst her opponent Chen Mei-ya received 42 per cent.

“This has never been done before,” she told voters following her election victory, “but we did it. We’ve made history.

“A 30 year old in Kaohsiung can make their mark.”

Jie came out in April 2023 and has said Taiwan – which was the first Asian nation to legalise same-sex marriage – still has much work to do to improve LGBTQ+ rights.

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In 2020, she vehemently defended an LGBTQ+ children’s book after anti-queer bigots suggested it would make children gay.

“The essence of love is understanding. It is not something you can control or force,” Jie said at the time, urging people to avoid “spreading fear and fake news”.

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“Gender equality education has never been aimed at cultivating homosexuality. Teaching children about the LGBT community will not turn children into homosexuals,” she added.

She first entered politics in 2018 as a member of the New Power Party and was elected to the Kaohsiung City Council that year, representing Fongshan District.

She did not come out at the start of her career, and has since spoken about what it is like to be an out LGBTQ+ person and woman in Taiwanese politics and the abuse she can face.

One such example of this abuse is that she was the victim, amongst many other celebrities and politicians, of deepfake pornography which used her face to create her likeness. YouTuber Chu Yu-chen and his assistant Chuang Hsin-jui were fined and handed prison sentences for creating the vile material.

In 2019, she went viral for a video of her rolling her eyes at Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu’s answers about potentially establishing a free economic pilot zone – which saw her dubbed the ‘eye roll goddess’.

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