‘Taiwan LGBT Pride’ attracts record-breaking 200,000 participants

週六「2019台灣同志遊行」吸引超過二十萬人一同共襄盛舉| The 2019 Taiwan LGBT Pride, organized by Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, attracted more than 200,000 visitors from around the world. (Courtesy of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan)
週六「2019台灣同志遊行」吸引超過二十萬人一同共襄盛舉| The 2019 Taiwan LGBT Pride, organized by Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, attracted more than 200,000 visitors from around the world. (Courtesy of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — “Taiwan LGBT Pride” (台灣同志遊行) attracted more than 200,000 participants on Saturday, calling for the public to embrace the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, especially now that same-sex marriage has been legalized in Taiwan.

There are over 200 groups in attendance with the 2019 parade. (Courtesy of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan)
More than 200 groups were in attendance this year. (Courtesy of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan)

Themed “Together, Make Taiwan Better,” the event has successfully set a new record for the annual Taipei extravaganza that started in 2003 with a few hundred participants. It has since become the largest of its kind in Asia.

The marchers departed early in the afternoon from Taipei City Hall Plaza and walked in a very light mood to Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, brandishing rainbow flags and sporting flamboyant costumes.

Gap, American clothing brand also participated in the 2019 parade.
Members and friends of GAP Taiwan also participated in this year’s event. (Shelly Yang)

Among the marchers, hundreds of staff from 37 companies, such as Google, GAP, Unilever and Citibank, to name just a few, and foreign trade representative offices, including the United States, Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium, joined the revelers.

The event was organized by the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, the official platform advocating for the passage of marriage equality bills in the Civil Code in 2016. The coalition is comprised of five LGBTQ+ and gender organizations – Awakening Foundation, GagaOOLala, Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy, The Lobby Alliance for LGBT Human Rights and Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association.

People dressed up as different themes during the parade. (Courtesy of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan)
People dressed in rainbow colors for the occasion. (Courtesy of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan)

Taiwan’s parliament (Legislative Yuan) passed the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748 May 17 to allow two people of the same gender aged 18 or older to register a marriage. The act took effect May 24, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

But Cheng Chi-wei (鄭智偉), a representative of the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, told CNA that Taiwan still needs to move forward on the issue of transnational same-sex marriage because, at the moment, Taiwan’s law does not permit same-sex marriage if at least one partner is from a country where such unions are not legal.

The road painted in rainbow colors in Shi-men Ting attracted many visitors to take pictures. (IG:penyogaster)
Participants pose for a photograph on a road painted in rainbow colors in Shi-men Ting. (IG:penyogaster)

For instance, a Taiwan national can’t have same-sex marriages with people from Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and other areas of Asia, according to pioneering gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei (祁家威).

Chi, who attended the parade, said that allowing same-sex marriage with people from those countries is the “last mile” on the road to marriage equality in Taiwan.

This year, Google parade truck was themed "always be proud of your self." (Courtesy of Shelly Yang)
This year’s Google parade truck was themed “Always proud of oneself.” (Courtesy of Shelly Yang)

The Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade was first launched in 2003 and has grown from only a few hundred participants to over 130,000 last year. The event carries a new theme every year, ranging from anti-discrimination to calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

According to the Ministry of the Interior statistics, a total of 2,155 same-sex marriages were registered in Taiwan as of the end of September, of which 1,461 pairs were women and 694 were men.

By The China Post staff with CNA