‘Gay Orgy’ Raid Raises Privacy Questions in Taiwan
PlanetOut.com Network, January 23, 2004
By Christopher Curtis, Gay.com / PlanetOut.com Network
SUMMARY: Gay rights and AIDS awareness groups in
Taiwan are outraged at the local media’s handling of a police raid on what
was called a gay orgy.
Gay rights and AIDS awareness groups in Taiwan are
outraged at the local media’s handling of a police raid on what was called a
The video of 92 men wearing only underwear and hiding
their faces was rebroadcast several times after blood tests ordered by
authorities found that 28 of them had HIV.
News reports made it seem that casual contact with the
men could spread HIV. Neighbors of the men disinfected their homes; police
officers were taped cleaning the seats immediately after questioning the
Gender-Sexuality Rights Association of Taiwan spokeswoman
Wang Ping told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that this shows how homosexuality in
Taiwan is equated with HIV/AIDS.
“The case has caused panic in local society through the
media coverage. But the government has failed to give the public the correct
information on the disease, which does not transmit through mere physical
While police found hundreds of used condoms, health
authorities said the men’s drug use constituted “dangerous sexual
behavior,” adding that they would seek the prosecution of 14 of the
HIV-positive men for spreading the disease to others.
In Taiwan, a conviction under the local anti-AIDS law
could send someone to jail or up to seven years.
Activists say the implementation of the anti-AIDS law not
only violates the rights of homosexuals and HIV patients, but also discourages
others from getting tested.
“A gay friend e-mailed me today, saying he had given up
on a plan to go for a blood test after the incident,” said Ivory Lin,
secretary-general of a group called Persons with HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy
Association of Taiwan.
“The men should at least have been allowed to put on
their clothes before police exposed them to cameras,” Lin told AFP.
Wu Hsu-liang, a spokesman for the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline
Association, told reporters the incident shows that Taiwan may not be ready to
accept homosexuals, even as the government considers allowing same-sex
marriage and same-sex adoption.
“The way the news was handled was typical of a
discriminatory, voyeuristic mentality, designed to send viewers the message,
‘Yuck! It’s disgusting. Everybody come have a look!’” he said.
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