This year’s LGBTQ+ Pride parade has taken place recently, the largest one in Asia!
Featured Image: Tens of thousands march in Taipei’s LGBT pride parade.
The 15th annual Taiwan LGBT Pride parade took place on October 28th. With over 120,000 participants, 160 organizations, and governmental representatives from all over the world, the event came to its close with great success. This year, the theme of the parade focused on sex education, along with the advocacy against bullying and discrimination to the LGBTQ+ community. The parade’s slogan was “Make Love, Not War — Sex Ed is the Way to Go!”
The parade itself lasted over five hours, while supporting groups (LGBT Inter-Co Network… and Tokyo Rainbow Pride) held booths and street art to educate the public about proper sex-ed.
Singers from Taiwan and Japan performed to show support. Misia, a Japanese R&B singer and an avid supporter of LGBTQ+ rights both in Japan and internationally, also took part in the parade.
“If we can all use our eyes without prejudice, we’re able to see all the colors that represent love,” said Misia during the parade.
This year’s parade is highly significant within the context of progressive attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community in Taiwan. This May, the Chief Justice of the Constitution Court has announced interpretation on the previous laws associated with same-sex marriage. Originally, the law said that “the provisions of Chapter 2…do not allow two persons of the same sex to create a permanent union of intimate…” In May’s ruling, the Justice announced the following: “…to the extent of such failure, [provisions of Chapter 2] are in violation of both the people’s freedom of marriage as protected by Article 22…”. This judicial act has thus been regarded by many as the biggest step fighting for LGBTQ+ rights throughout the country’s history. As a result, if the re-interpretation of Chapter 2 passes, Taiwan may become the first Asian country to pass same-sex marriage.
Out of the 120,000 participants, many were teenagers and students. Ching, a high school senior from Taiwan shared her thoughts on participating in the parade:
“I’m happy to see people standing out for a common goal, to fight for the rights that they deserve. I’m happy to see straight people joining us with the slogan: I am straight and I support LGBTQ+ rights! Or parents who took their children and went: I am a parent and I support a diversified-family society!“
Getting a closer look at the event, Mr. Chi Chia-Wei, the primary advocate of the Taiwan LGBTQ+ Pride, also participated as the leading figure of the parade. Chi is well-known as the first to come out as an openly gay man in Taiwan, while also being the revolutionary figure who applied for the petition for reinterpretation of the previous laws. Many identify Chi as the most influential figure contributing to the potential change in legal change regarding same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, according to Central News Agency, Christof Wittig, founder and CEO of U.S.-based gay dating app Hornet, also joined the parade, saying, “We are very proud and happy to be here, because Taiwan is breaking the ice for marriage equality in Asia.”
With that being said, Ching continues with her thoughts:
“I have mixed feelings about the parade. I’m also saddened by the fact knowing the society we are living in is still pressured by a certain degree of discrimination. That people have to do so much more to ask and pledge for the ‘right thing.’ I hope the public is able to recognize that we are no different; we are just doing what’s right and hoping to receive the support and rights we deserve.”
As the parade came to a successful end, the spirit and celebration of equality did not cease. While the advocacy for gender equality and education shall continue, the society and its people will certainly be witnessing changes coming. By then, the rainbow will echo, echo with pride, with rightness, and with love.