HISTORIC: 27 Taiwanese and Multinational Companies Speak Out for LGBTQ Equality in Taiwan

Today, in the lead up to November 24 referendums in Taiwan in which marriage equality and inclusion of LGBTQ issues in school curricula are on the ballot, 27 Taiwanese and multinational companies operating in Taiwan released a statement in support of LGBTQ equality. The major businesses are joined by six non-governmental organizations operating in Taiwan and globally.

Noting that diversity and inclusion are good for business, and that discrimination significantly harms LGBTQ people and imposes enormous productivity costs, the statement calls for full equality under the law, including marriage equality and the continued inclusion of LGBTQ issues in school curricula. The full text of the statement is included below.

In total, there are five ballot initiatives on November 24 that will impact LGBTQ people in Taiwan. Three initiatives would harm LGBTQ people, including two attempting to undermine a landmark Taiwanese Constitutional Court decision supporting marriage equality and another that would repeal a portion of the Gender Equity Education Act — which supports LGBTQ inclusion in Taiwan’s school curriculum. In contrast, two other initiatives would affirm marriage equality and the importance of the Gender Equity Education Act.

Last year, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court made international headlines by issuing a first-of-its-kind ruling in Asia affirming marriage equality. The court’s ruling mandated that the Legislative Yuan update Taiwan’s marriage law by May 2019 to allow same-sex couples to marry. While LGBTQ advocates in Taiwan have made important progress in recent years, including majority support for marriage equality and support by the current president of Taiwan, these gains could be threatened by the anti-LGBTQ ballot initiatives.

The companies signing the statement in support of LGBTQ equality represent thousands of employees in Taiwan and are drawn from a broad range of industries, including financial services, consumer products, professional services, and technology. Six LGBTQ organizations, led by the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, organized the effort to secure corporate signatories.  

“We’re thankful these Taiwanese and multinational companies are speaking in one united voice in support of LGBTQ equality. These companies know that achieving marriage equality in Taiwan is not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business. We believe that respecting diversity and inclusion can bring harmony and strength to society.” — Jennifer Lu, Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association

“These major businesses are speaking out in one united voice to make clear they stand with the Taiwanese LGBTQ community in their fight for equality,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global, Human Rights Campaign. “This is a pivotal moment for equality in the region, as Taiwan is set to become the first in Asia to recognize marriage equality. In order to keep the momentum moving forward, now more than ever, it’s important that fair-minded voices speak out and voice their support for LGBTQ equality.”

“We applaud these leading Taiwanese and multinational corporations for publicly standing with their LGBTQ employees and the entire community in Taiwan,” said Erin Uritus, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.  “These companies know that creating an environment where their LGBTQ employees feel welcome and respected – both within their companies and in society more broadly – is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for business and good for Taiwan.”

Statement in Support of LGBTQ Inclusion in Taiwan

Diversity, inclusion, respect, equality and non-discrimination are values that we cherish and seek to uphold in our companies and in our business dealings. We do this not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes our companies and our society stronger and more successful.

Research has shown that a diverse workforce is more creative, productive, and competitive. Policies that support and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace also help businesses in Taiwan attract and retain the top talent we need to remain competitive in the global economy.

As such, employees in same-sex relationships deserve the same right to marry in Taiwan as other couples. Furthermore, Taiwanese students deserve an education that prepares them to engage in a world where diversity and inclusion is prioritized.

For these reasons, we support marriage equality and diversity and inclusion efforts in Taiwan. We believe our businesses—and Taiwan’s society and economy—are strongest when we put aside our differences and find strength in our commonalities.

Taiwanese companies

9floor

ALPHA Camp

Backer-Founder co.ltd

Bounty tavern

Canmeng International Inc.

CASETEK HOLDINGS LIMITED

FunNow

Hahow

justfont.Inc

KUNNEX Incorporated

Morningshop

Oriented Enterprise Co., LTD

Pegatron Corporation

Portico Media

Proteinshop

QLL PTE. LTD.

ystudio.co., LTD

Multinational companies in Taiwan

Airbnb

Deutsche Bank

The Dow Chemical Company

Ernst & Young (EY)

Google

HP

IBM Corporation

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Microsoft

Oracle

Non-governmental organizations

Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association

Human Rights Campaign

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Council for Global Equality

Freedom to Marry Global Action

Open for Business

Read more

HRC Endorses Ben Jealous for Maryland Governor

HRC announced its endorsement of Ben Jealous (D) in his bid to become the next governor of Maryland.

“Ben Jealous is a proven leader with the vision and commitment needed to continue moving Maryland forward as a welcoming and inclusive state,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “As a longtime civil rights champion, Ben is passionately committed to putting people over politics and fighting to expand and protect the civil rights of every individual. HRC is proud to endorse Ben Jealous for governor, and we look forward to working with him to advance LGBTQ equality.”

“In 2012, as national President of the NAACP, I worked closely with the Human Rights Campaign to help make marriage equality law in our state, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of Marylanders to the polls,” said Ben Jealous. “Today, as the Trump administration continues to roll back protections for the LGBTQ+ community, we need leaders at the state level to protect civil rights and civil liberties. I’m proud to receive the endorsement of HRC and as governor, I look forward to working with them to move all our families forward.”

Ben Jealous has extensive experience as a non-profit executive, serving as the past president of the Rosenberg Foundation, and the founding director of Amnesty International’s U.S. Domestic Human Rights Program. At age 35, he was named the youngest ever National President and CEO of the NAACP. During the depths of a national recession, Jealous guided the NAACP through an unprecedented era of growth. He used his background as a community organizer and executive to press the NAACP forward in expanding and protecting the civil rights of all Americans. Throughout his NAACP tenure, Jealous worked with governors from California to Iowa, developing plans to help end mass incarceration and expand civil rights, and helped to pass numerous landmark pieces of legislation during President Obama’s first term in office. In 2013, he was named Marylander of the Year by the Baltimore Sun for helping to lead the successful efforts to abolish the death penalty, pass marriage equality, pass the DREAM Act, and expand voting rights.

In Maryland, HRC has identified more than 1.7 million “Equality Voters,” meaning they are strong supporters of progressive LGBTQ policies including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Last year, HRC announced a coast-to-coast campaign to mobilize voters for the midterm elections called HRC Rising, which represents the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history.
 

Authority: Friends of Ben Jealous, Jason Small, Treasurer.

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC (www.hrc.org) and not authorized or approved by any federal candidate or candidate’s committee.

Read more

Trump Replaces Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Anti-LGBTQ Mike Pompeo

Today, HRC released the following statement condemning Trump’s decision to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with anti-LGBTQ Mike Pompeo.

“Mike Pompeo’s longstanding opposition to LGBTQ equality makes him a reckless choice to lead our nation’s diplomatic efforts,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The decision to nominate anti-LGBTQ Mike Pompeo could have serious consequences for the United States and LGBTQ people around the globe. The State Department has a crucial role to play in advancing human rights — a role which was already rapidly declining under Tillerson. This decision has the potential to make a dire situation even worse. Pompeo does not deserve to be confirmed.”

Pompeo’s attacks on LGBTQ equality are long and well-documented: he opposes marriage equality, and, as a member of Congress, co-sponsored legislation to allow states to not recognize same-sex marriage and to allow businesses and organizations using taxpayer dollars a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Equally as troubling, his political career has been funded by anti-LGBTQ hate groups, including the Family Research Council.

Read more

Trump, Pence Force Their Hate and Discrimination onto the Military with Transgender Ban

Today, HRC strongly condemned a White House directive that interferes in Department of Defense personnel policy by pushing forward President Trump’s and Vice President Pence’s transgender military ban. HRC called on Secretary of Defense James Mattis to protect transgender service members from the vicious political assault.

The new directive bans at least some medically necessary transition-related health care and extends the ban on transgender people enlisting or commissioning into the military. The long term issue of currently serving transgender troops’ continued service remains unresolved.

“Donald Trump and Mike Pence are forcing their hate, bigotry, and discrimination onto the military with this transgender ban,” said Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary and Marine veteran. “Secretary Mattis has a solemn responsibility to protect transgender troops from this vile political attack. We have a responsibility to treat every service member with the honor, respect, and benefits they have earned. And no qualified and talented American should be turned away from the military just because of their gender identity. Donald Trump’s attack on currently serving troops and his refusal to treat every service member equally proves once again he is unfit to be commander in chief.”

More than a year ago, the Pentagon lifted the archaic ban on transgender people serving openly in the U.S. military, joining eighteen other countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Israel, which allow transgender people to serve openly in their militaries. The Pentagon made the change after a year-long intensive working group that studied the implications of transgender military service.  A study sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of RAND’s National Defense Research Institute found that there would be minimal health care costs and negligible readiness implications associated with allowing transgender people to serve in the military — contrary to the rhetoric and unfounded claims from anti-LGBTQ activists.

Estimates show there are thousands of actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, making the Department of Defense (DoD) the largest employer of transgender people in America.  Thousands of transgender Americans have served with honor and distinction in our military, including the more than 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today.  

Read more

A Familiar Form of Discrimination

This piece originally appeared in U.S. News & World Report and was authored by Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary.

It was with a familiar sickness of heart that I watched as President Donald Trump launched an all-out assault on the LGBTQ community and active duty service members by tweeting that he is reinstating a transgender military service ban.

You see, I’ve been there. My own service in the Marine Corps was cut short because of “don’t ask, don’t tell” – the archaic and deeply discriminatory law that barred gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans from serving openly in the military. I was discharged because I am gay. I still mourn the loss of the career I had aimed for, serving the country I love.

Sadly, Trump’s heinous and disgusting action – which could lead to the discharge of as many as 15,000 transgender Americans serving our country at this critical time – is “don’t ask, don’t tell” all over again. Trump’s nakedly political aim to isolate, target and discriminate against transgender troops courageously serving our country has, in a few hundred Twitter characters, threatened to return us to a deeply shameful policy that weakens our military. Discharging thousands of highly trained and talented troops just because of their gender identity would be unconscionable.

I was just out of college when I decided to enlist, after the tragic events of Sept. 11. Though I was proud to honorably serve my country in the U.S. Marine Corps, after re-enlisting for another four years, I knew I could no longer go on pretending I wasn’t gay.

I wanted to continue to serve, but the law said I was suddenly unfit for duty, simply because of who I am. A huge burden was lifted off of my family’s shoulders when “don’t ask, don’t tell” was finally repealed under President Barack Obama, allowing my Marine husband to keep his distinguished career. He’s now serving a year-long deployment in one of the world’s most dangerous areas.

So you can imagine my outrage that Trump would seek to implement this kind of discriminatory, unpatriotic policy. Our transgender service members wear the same uniform, take the same oath and are heroes who put their lives on the line to protect our country and promote security around the globe.

All of our brave troops – including my husband, who is currently serving in harm’s way – are counting on us to have their backs, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Instead, since the day he set foot in the White House, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have appointed anti-LGBTQ extremists across the government and sought to roll back our rights at every turn. It’s bad enough that Trump and Pence oppose marriage equality, that they endorse license to discriminate laws, that they defend anti-LGBTQ measures like North Carolina’s HB2, that they appoint anti-equality justices and that they campaign with anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

It is a new low to target thousands upon thousands of actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, and impugn the honor of tens of thousands more who have served with valor and distinction — including more than 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. This attack undermines military readiness and harms the military’s ability to recruit and retain the best and the brightest, regardless of their gender identity.

I hope that every service member and veteran who has fought for our country will see the injustice in what Trump and Pence have done. I hope they will join me in standing up to this disgraceful assault on our fellow service members.

We enlist and commission to protect our most fundamental values: freedom, justice, equality under the law. It is an outrageous tragedy that our commander in chief has decreed transgender troops – who are fighting for those ideals we all share – should be treated so shamefully.

Read more