At this year's Taiwan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade (
However, parade organizers from the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association (
"Despite the image the media puts forth, we are not all drag queens," said Wu Hsu-liang (
The event starts tomorrow at 1pm, with a street party led by local DJs Victor Cheng and Kay at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (
The Pride Parade is the most demonstrative expression of the Tongzhi Hotline's work, which includes over-the-phone counseling on topics ranging from relationship trouble to attempted suicide. This year, the Hotline inaugurated a parents and friends of sexual minorities support group -- modeled after the famous Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PLAG) organization in the US.
Taiwan's Pride Parade, touted as the first ever in the Chinese-speaking world, was held last year and attracted 1,000 lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and their supporters. Organizers expect to attract more than 2,000 this year.
The parade also promises to distinguish itself on several new fronts. This year's event is centered around four slogans: Citizens with Exceptions (
"People think that our parade is just a copy because other big cities in the world have them," Wu said. "But this time the Pride Parade is really stressing the point that we are all citizens with rights and that all of us can be involved in the civic process of law- and policy-making."
Last year, the Taipei City Government provided NT$720,000 for the event, but the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline chose not to solicit government funds this year. "The government is a little conservative and we felt pressure from them last time. If it is a government-sponsored event they have more control. This year we had some ideas we wanted to express free of the government," Wu said.
The potentially controversial ideas Wu alluded to might include those stemming from a group new to the Pride Parade roster. This year BDSM, whose members include adherents to bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism, will show their solidarity with the LGBT (transgender) community by joining the parade with groups such as Ri Ri Chun (日日春關懷互助協會), an organized association of sex workers.
Some worry that these unconventional groups and the often exaggerated image of gays projected by the media might further alienate transgender groups from mainstream society.
Roan Ching-yueh (