Calls to Taiwan’s leading support hotline for the LGBTQ community have skyrocketed since same-sex marriage was voted down last week.
In a historic referendum, 70 percent of Taiwanese voters cast a ballot against marriage equality on Nov. 24. According to a report from Gay Star News, the number of people reaching out to the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association shot up by 40 percent in the four days after.
The hotline, which is the oldest organization of its kind in Taiwan, claimed the calls have come from both LGBTQ people and their family members.
“Many LGBTQ and straight allies are disappointed at the result of the referendum,” claimed Sean Du, a senior staff at Taiwan Tongzhi. “Some LGBTQ people feel strongly depressed or anxious. Some even feel hopeless or isolated by… society.”
As INTO previously reported, the vote has caused widespread confusion among LGBTQ people and their allies on the self-governing island.
In total, voters sounded off on five questions last Saturday. Three of the ballot measures opposed equality, including the teaching of topics related to the queer and trans community in schools. All of those passed. Two pro-LGBTQ measures were also put for a public vote, but both of those failed.
But while many believed the vote would automatically ban same-sex marriage, that is not the case. The referendum was nonbinding, and the Legislative Yuan will have three months to respond.
It’s unclear, however, whether lawmakers are required to put forward a bill following the plebiscite vote.
But while the LGBTQ community moves forward from this shocking defeat, Taiwan Tongzhi is continuing to send a message to queer and trans people that they are not alone. The group is encouraging Facebook users to add an overlay to their profile photo with the slogan “Together, Stronger” in solidarity with those that may be struggling.
According to the organization, more than 500 people have used the new filter.