Huang Jie makes history as Taiwan’s first openly LGBTQ+ legislator

During the recent elections, Huang Jie won a seat in Kaohsiung’s 6th District, making her Taiwan's first openly LGBTQ+ legislator.

The image shows Huang Jie, the first openly LGBTQ+ legislator elected to parliament in Taiwan. In the photograph she is holding a microphone to her mouth. She is wearing a light grey jacket and has long black hair and red lipstick.
Image: @huangjie_official via Instagram

In a historic move, thirty-year-old Huang Jie has become the first openly LGBTQ+ legislator elected to parliament in Taiwan.

The former Kaohsiung City Councilor was elected after receiving 51.01% of votes during the national elections held on Saturday, January 13, overthrowing main rival Chen Mei-ya, a five-term city councillor who received just 42.07%.

Prior to her new appointment as Taiwan legislator, Huang served on the Kaohsiung City Council as a representative of the New Power Party (NPP) from 2018. After loosing her seat in 2021, she was reelected as an independent councillor in 2022, receiving the highest number in the southern Taiwan city.

In August 2023, Huang joined the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). She was nominated as the party representative in Kaohsiung’s 6th District after Chao Tian-lin, a three-term DPP lawmaker, dropped his bid for reelection after it became public knowledge that he had had an affair with a Chinese woman.

According to a report on the news site Focus Taiwan, Huang disclosed her sexuality publicly in April 2023, explaining that she had chosen not to come out during her early political career, but once she did, some asserted that LGBTQ+ voters told her that she had given them courage.

She also disclosed that people campaigning for her recall during her 2021 loss had attacked her for being gay. Despite Taiwan having introduced same-sex marriage in 2019, this instance made her realise that “Taiwan still has room for improvement regarding LGBTQ+ rights.” She added that she hoped to promote equality through her involvement in politics.

Speaking after her election on Saturday, Huang expressed gratitude to her rival Chao and the Mayor of Kaohsiung, Chen Chi-mai, for believing in and supporting her.

She also thanked her voters and campaign team, saying that she believed the “Kaohsiung spirit” of giving young, hardworking people opportunities had enabled her success.

She concluded, “I will continue to safeguard [the wellbeing of] Kaohsiung and work to make it a place that shines internationally.”

Despite Huang’s success in becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ legislator, the DPP were unsuccessful in securing a clear majority in the Taiwan election. However, despite diplomatic pressure and military threats from China, DPP’s former vice-president, Lai Ching-te, won the presidential race.

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