Queer Reproduction in Global Context: How Taiwan Lesbian Building an Alternative Sociotechnical Network of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Szu Ying HO , City University of New York, New York, NY
While Taiwan is the most LGBT friendly country in East Asia, it is still one of the twenty regions only “married” (heterosexual) couples can legally use assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). Globally, East Asian countries are the second restrict region (next to Muslim countries) where assisted reproductive technologies eligibility criteria are severely based on martial status. At the same time, the first lesbian parenting social group in East Asia emerges Taiwan, the interesting contradiction between severe legal restriction and vigorous lesbian parenting desire and association bespeak a theoretically abundant case. In this paper, through more than six years field work, participation and observation in Taiwan LGBT parenting group, the author explores 15 lesbians in Taiwan how did they negotiate to get access of ART in spite of the legal restriction. First, the author find self-insemination is not well diffused and used in Taiwan like the United States and some other western countries, and it’s due to different feminism movement context and the predominant feminism antinatalism discourse in Taiwan.  Second, lesbians in Taiwan disguise as single (with heterosexual assumption) women to fulfill physician’s moral concern, while some physician’s consider single women are more legitimate than lesbians to have children despite of both groups are illegal users. Besides, some lesbians have pseudo-marriage with gay people to get legal access to ARTs. Finally, reproductive exile also happen in Taiwan—some lesbians go to Canada and Thailand to pursue ARTs treatments. In this paper, the authors found how lesbians in Taiwan negotiate and navigate their way to embody their procreative desire in existing medical system, their reproduction practices challenges the original ARTs intend. Furthermore, queer actors, knowledge, and ARTs  travel beyond borders, not only weaken the state-bound health regulation, but also embody a new transnational biomedical mobilities.