On Saturday afternoon at the Taipei Pride, there was utmost cheerfulness and independence in the air as the gay parade kick-started with hundreds and thousands of people on the roads. It was Asia’s largest LGBT pride parade, where more than 80,000 people filled the streets of Taipei with an admirable spirit.
It was time for a double celebration for Taiwan as it became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage and second, the island’s fight against the deadly coronavirus seems to be over. The island has not reported any local transmission of COVID-19 in the last 200 days. However, in the past, Taiwan has implemented regular measures including restriction on travel, prompt contact tracing, use of masks in public and regular lockdowns.
Taipei Pride based on honoring Diversity
The theme of the event was “Fun together, honor Diversity.” People were seen wearing rainbow-colored tattoos and carrying flags, and singing to some melodious tunes in the Taipei Pride Parade. For the first time since the pandemic arose, such a large-scale parade has been observed in Asia. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Taiwan in May last year, and the LGBTQ pride last year attracted around 2,00,000 people. This year, due to the pandemic and border restrictions with various countries, the organizers did expect a gathering of 1 00,000, given that the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in Taiwan.
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The adoption of LGBTQ rights in Taiwan was a major stepping stone that came after a long battle from campaigners who demanded equal rights for the gay community. LGBT activist ‘Chi Chia’ led a legal challenge which announced in a 2017 constitutional court ruling that it was unconstitutional for the country’s civil code for unrecognizing “same-sex” marriage. After a series of referendums that followed in 2018, most of the Taiwanese population opted for separate marriage law. Finally, on May 29, 2019, a bill passed by the legislature minimized the use of the term “marriage” and allowed for same-sex marriages. However, there are still many conditions that need to be fulfilled, such as those couples who have partners from other countries. The last year saw more than 4,000 same-sex couples go into wedlock.
Taipei Pride is a mark of Freedom of Expression
A mass military wedding ceremony which took place on Friday, saw for the first time, two same-sex couples in the ceremony. While Taiwan boasts of its significance in the international arena owing to its democratic ways and recognition of marriage laws for same-sex, its neighbor China stands authoritative on Taiwan’s control and considers the latter as its territory. Demonstrating the difference between the freedom of expression between China and Taiwan, “Wayne Lin,” the public relations officer for the Taipei Pride Organizer, said that the Taipei pride delivers a clear message that Taiwan emphasizes fundamental human rights. He suggested that in China, you cannot have hundreds and thousands of people marching on the streets like this.
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