Amid all the scandals, resignations, explosions and protests that have shaken Taiwan’s political scene in recent days, there was one piece of good news in the afternoon when the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) upheld the legality of a marriage between two transgender individuals, ending months of legal battle and the very real risk that the couple would see their union annulled.
Thing were rather unpromising initially, when a small rally outside the MOI was informed that the couple — Abbygail Wu (吳伊婷), 27, and her partner, Jiyi Ng (吳芷儀), 29 — could not attend a meeting of experts inside where their case was being reviewed. The reason given was that there were not enough seats.
|Supporters gather in front of the MOI|
Several minutes later, after the situation had calmed down, the gates were open, and the couple, escorted by police officers, were allowed in. People cheered them on and dispersed. (We later learned that they were allowed to make a quick speech before being forced to leave the room.)
|The couple's legal adviser|
Two months earlier, Wu and Ng had undergone sex changes, also known as “gender reassignment surgery,” to transform them from men into women. However, when earlier this year Jiyi Wu applied for legal status as a woman, the Taipei City Household Registration Office noticed some “irregularities” and turned to the city’s Department of Civil Affairs, which in turn requested input from the ministry. In the end, the ministry revoked the marriage certificate and stated that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman.
An intervention by Democratic Progressive Party legislators compelled the government to hold today’s review.
|Things did get a bit rough|
This is a small step, but today once again confirms that in the realm of ideas and social progressiveness, Taiwan is light years ahead of China and other countries in the region. With such decisions, it reaffirms its distinctiveness as a nation.
Congratulations to Abbygail and Jiyi, and to those who were involved in today’s decision! (All photos by the author)