Taiwan Progresses: The first transgender government minister


I’m embarrassed to say I missed this story when it happened.  I’ve known since early November, but not gotten around to posting until now.  Unfortunately, I don’t watch TV and don’t read the daily English newspapers.  (They’re both fairly objective, I just don’t buy them.)

Taiwan’s new digital minister is a transgender software programmer who wants to make government more open

The Taiwanese government has appointed Audrey Tang, a transgender software developer and self-described “civic hacker” to its executive council to head digital policy. Tang, 35, will be the youngest and first transgender official in Taiwan’s executive government, known as the yuan.

Tang will be tasked with making the government more transparent, and making data about how it works available to all, as well helping form Taiwan’s “Asian Silicon Valley,” a new tech zone devoted to the “internet of things” industry. On Facebook on Aug.25, she said that her mission was not to do propaganda but to “serve as a channel” that combines “intelligence and power.”

Tang wasn’t appointed because she’s transgender, she was appointed because of her technical ability.  It’s a big poke-in-the-eye to anti-trans bigots, and I hope a good sign for employment equality elsewhere for Taiwan’s transgender community.

(Personal anecdote on attitudes towards transgender people in Taiwan: In almost two years of being out, the only antagonism I’ve experienced has been from the foreigners.   A few Taiwanese have looked at me and gone silent, but none have harassed me.  Only a few filthy waiguoren.)

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