National police urged to review hair regulations for policemen
By Joseph Yeh , The China Post
December 29, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- An opposition lawmaker yesterday urged the National Police Agency (NPA, 警政署) to review its existing regulation that bans male policeman from wearing long hair, saying that the rule violates basic human rights.
Speaking during a press conference in Taipei, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said that a policeman has recently filed a complaint to her about this particular NPA rule.
Identified himself as “Mr. L,” the male police officer who joined Yu at the press conference said he was asked by his superiors to cut his long hair ever since he reported for duty five years ago.
His superiors have repeatedly asked him to cut his hair and he was given numerous demerits for violating the NPA's appearance standards for police officers.
Under tremendous pressure, he decided to cut his hair earlier this year.
The policeman said he chose to wear long hair because of a personal gender identity issue.
He said the NPA's regulation has violated his rights and his freedom of self-expression and has caused him undue anxiety.
The DPP lawmaker said Mr. L is “a man with a female soul who used to use his long hair to express his gender identity.” The NPA rule is outdated and is a perfect example of gender stereotyping, Yu said.
She urged the NPA to revise the regulation for gender equality reason and to safeguard the policeman's right to continue to work.
In response, Yang Ysung-hsi (楊宗熙), chief of the NPA's Internal Affairs Office, said at yesterday's press conference that the NPA has set dress codes and hair regulations on police officers because they are empowered by the state to enforce the law.
By asking police officers to follow proper appearance standards, Yang said the general public will have more confidence to them and are more likely to follow their orders.
A male police officer that wears a long hair when carrying out his duties could cause confusion within the general public, he noted.
But he promised that the NPA will launch review to the existing rule and make possible adjustments if necessary.