LGBTQI AND HIV HEROES HONOURED AT APCOM HERO AWARDS 2021

By November 26, 2021 January 11th, 2022 Newsroom, Regional, What We Do

Community Organisation

Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association

Taiwan

Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association is the first and the biggest national LGBTQ+ organization in Taiwan. Our work includes:

  1. Community Services

We provide more than 1,600 telephone consulting sessions and organize more than 100 support groups and gatherings for the LGBTQ+ community every year. Our targeted groups include teenagers, gays, lesbians, transgender people, parents of LGBTQ+ individuals and their children.

2. Social education

We give more than 300 lectures across Taiwan in an average year. In addition to learning about LGBTQ+, we cover themes like HIV/AIDS, transgender, friendly workplace, and improving the sensitivity of professionals. We also help more people to learn about LGBTQ+ issues by organizing street stands, producing Podcast shows and operating a YouTube channel.

3. Advocacy work

We are devoted to promoting policies and bills about LGBTQ+-related issues, such as marriage equality, gender equity education, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ+ human rights.

4. International network

We seek to engage in more international work on LGBTQ+ rights, exchange and share experiences with organizations from other countries, make connections and build networks. We also actively seek opportunities to attend international meetings and conferences so as to share Taiwan’s experiences with the world.

What one achievement your organisation accomplished that it is most proud of

For 23 years, Hotline has cultivated and trained many LGBTQ+ activists, as well as pioneered many new fields for LGBTQ+ movement and services, such as family and coming-out, LGBTQ+ education, elderly LGBTQ+, LGBTQ+ teenagers, sexual health for gays and lesbians, workplace equality, and Pride parades in both Taipei and Kaohsiung City. A Hotline has also helped many LGBTQ+ organizations to be born and to grow, such as Taiwan LGBT Pride, Marriage Equality Coalition (now as Taiwan Equality Campaign), Indigenous Taiwan LGBTQ and Hand Angel.

What is the most challenging thing about the work of your organisation

Currently, anti-LGBTQ groups in Taiwan mostly consist of Christian churches and organizations, who take advantage of their ample human and material resources to carry out smear campaigns as well as attacks targeting LGBTQ+ organizations and agendas. The unequal resources have created great difficulties for us in situations that demand a great deal of media campaigns, such as a referendum.

What work did your organisation do differently due to Covid-19

We’ve combined online and face-to-face services for our work. For example, we’ve turned our telephone consulting into a long-distance service by allowing volunteers to answer the phone calls at home. We’ve also produced Podcast shows, live-broadcasting on YouTube and uploaded videos, made infographics, and also organized online lectures and group gatherings to support the community. We hosted Taiwan Trans March online to remind everyone to pay attention to the transgender community who suffered greater impact due to the pandemic. We also moved our annual fundraising banquet online to secure the funding for our Hotline to continue its operation.

How has your organisation catered to the mental health needs of your staff

Hotline employs external supervisors to run group supervision sessions with our volunteers every month. In addition, as the profile of Hotline’s LGBTQ+ clients and volunteers is highly diverse, quite some mental health issues also emerge. Thus, we offer our staff members and volunteers further vocational training to help them learn more about and understand mental diseases better. By doing so, we create a work culture that allows our staff to communicate with each other and to empathize with each other’s physical and psychological condition, so they can support each other.

What is your reaction to being nominated for the HERO Awards 2021

We are so happy to be nominated by HERO Awards and this is a great honor and encouragement to us. This is also a recognition of Hotline’s work and methods, as well as enables us to exchange experiences with LGBTQ+ organizations and activists from other Asian countries.

Despite the fact that the COVID-19 is still with us, what is a warm/hopeful message that you would like to share with the communities in the Asia Pacific

“We hope that we could help each other get through the difficult situation. Together, stronger.”


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