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Taipei exhibition to mark international day against homophobia
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Taipei, May 3 (CNA) An exhibition featuring the challenges faced by homosexuals in Taiwan and the history of their fight for marriage equality will take place in Taipei later this month to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the organizers said Wednesday.

The exhibition is scheduled for May 11-18 at Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei, said the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, a Taipei-based civic group that advocates same-sex marriage.

At a news conference, the group extended an invitation to President Tsai Ing-wen, Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san and members of the public opposed to gay marriage, to attend the exhibition to gain a greater understanding of the issue.

Victoria Hsu, president of the group, said the exhibition will include photos, videos, artifacts and news clips on gay rights issues over the past few decades.

It is hoped that the exhibition will encourage greater dialogue on gay rights issues, in an effort to eradicate homophobia in Taiwan, she said.

The exhibition will also include stories of gay people who have been unable to marry.

Hsu cited a Taiwanese man she met while she went to Japan to give a speech there. The man said he was forced to quit his Taiwanese military service about 30 years ago for being gay, evidenced by his official military discharge paper.

He later went on to study in Japan, where he met his partner, but they have been unable to get married because Japan does not allow same-sex marriage.

The man decided to stay in Japan illegally, but was discovered by the Japanese authorities recently and is now facing possible deportation. He has filed a lawsuit over his case and the judicial process is underway, Hsu said.

Meanwhile, the story of Taiwan gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei will also be featured at the exhibition, according to the organizers.

Chi is one of various petitioners requesting a constitutional interpretation on whether the country's marriage law is unconstitutional because it does not recognize same-sex marriage. The interpretation will be announced on May 24.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed on May 17 worldwide.

The alliance has held a one-day activity, including forums, movie screenings and rallies, to mark the day in previous years, but this year will be the first time it has held an exhibition lasting several days to mark the day, said Hsu.

This year, the alliance decided to do something different to call greater attention to the issue of gay rights at a time when the Tsai administration is about to mark its 1st anniversary in office on May 20, and grand justices will announce the result of the constitutional interpretation later this month, Hsu said.

A draft bill that will legalize same-sex marriage and allow married gay couples to adopt children passed its initial screening at the Legislature late last year amid fierce protests, and further discussion will be needed among lawmakers.

If Taiwan legalizes same-sex marriage, it is likely to be the first country in Asia to do so.