LGBT+ campaigners have criticized Taiwan’s Directorate General of Highways for banning vehicle license plates with the word ‘GAY’.
It is just one of 24 letter combinations that can’t be used because authorities see them as controversial or obscene.
The list also includes prurient combinations ‘MAD’, ‘SEX’, ‘SLY’, ‘BAD’, ‘ASS’, ‘BUM’, and ‘BRA’. Meanwhile it bans more innocent combinations like ‘CRY’, ‘CAT’, ‘ANT’, ‘PUG’ and ‘APE’.
Likewise, ‘PUP’ is banned. However that seems to be because the directorate bans animal names, rather than because they are aware of the ‘pup’ fetish, particularly popular among younger gay and bi kinksters.
Some people may want a ‘GAY’ plate
In fact, the ban dates back to 2012. That year that Taiwan’s government added an extra letter to registration plates. The change was to cope with the increasing number of vehicles on the country’s roads.
But the issue resurfaced when Taiwan People’s Party lawmaker Kao Hung-an (高虹安) criticized the Directorate General of Highways’ list.
She argued on Facebook on 19 August that cat lovers would appreciate CAT license plaets and questions why they shouldn’t be allowed them.
Now LGBT+ advocates have entered the argument. They renewed their call on the government to lift the bans.
Juan Mei-ying of the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT+) Hotline Association admitted ‘SEX’, ‘BRA’ and ‘GAY’ may appear sensitive to some. However he argued the ban only paints those words in a negative light – so it makes no sense for the department to forbid them.
Moreover he added that some people may actively want those letter combinations.
Likewise, Jennifer Lu, head of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, questioned why the likes of ‘CAT’ and ‘CRY’ are even on the list.
However the Central News Agency reports the department may now review the list. Director General Hsu Cheng-chang said the agency will start by collecting more opinions from the public.