More than 50,000 people yesterday took to the streets in Taipei to show their support for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, calling on the government to respect diversity in families and legalize same-sex marriage.
Holding up giant rainbow banners over their heads, tens of thousands of people — many of whom began to assemble on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office well ahead of the scheduled departure time of 2pm — shouted in excitement as the host of the rally announced the beginning of this year’s gay pride parade.
Prior to the departure of the parade, Hong Kong pop star Gigi Leung (梁詠琪) and singer Anthony Wong (黃天耀) — who earlier confirmed he is gay — showed up to express their support for LGBT rights.
Photo: AFP / Mandy Cheng
“Love is gender-blind, everyone is entitled to the right to enjoy happiness,” Leung said. “I can feel the joy of marriage after I got married last year, and I hope that everyone can enjoy the same degree of happiness as I do, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Wong sang the theme song of the 1997 Hong Kong film Happy Together (春光乍洩), which recounts the story of gay couple, and joined the parade.
“Things are better now than 20 years ago, but discrimination [against LGBT people] still exists,” Wong said. “After taking part in the parade in Taiwan, I hope to take the experience back to Hong Kong to fight against discrimination.”
Taiwanese actress Chu Hui-chen (朱慧珍) — who became active in LGBT rights campaigns after her lesbian daughter committed suicide in May — also appeared.
She called on all parents of LGBT people to take part in the parade and in the campaign for LGBT rights.
Many participants in the parade were creative in their outfits, with some men dressed in bridal gowns, as female marching band members or wearing only shorts, while many women dressed up in men’s formal suits.
The atmosphere of the parade was festive, but the appeal was serious.
“We would like to call on the government, and mainstream society to seriously consider the idea that everyone has the right to get married, and to form a family — be they heterosexual or a member of the LGBT community,” said Albert, head of the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade Alliance, the group that organizes the annual LGBT pride parade.
“Legally recognized marriage is important, not only because it’s about love and commitment between a couple, but also because it would enable a couple to enjoy rights and share responsibilities,” he said.
While Taiwanese society may seem more accepting of LGBT communities, Albert said that he still was not too optimistic about the prospects for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“Quite often, the public holds an attitude of ‘distant friendliness’ or ‘packaged discrimination’ toward members of LGBT communities,” Albert said. “Many people may seem friendly to LGBT groups because they think these groups have nothing to do with them, but once they feel that some LGBT issues would affect them, they show some hostility.”
Splitting into two groups with different routes after departing, marchers returned to Ketagalan Boulevard at about 4:30pm, where they had a tribute to three late advocates of LGBT rights — entertainer Da Bing (大炳), activist Chiang Chia-wen (江嘉雯) and stage actor Liu Ching-hung (劉敬弘).
The parade’s organizers said the tribute was to recognize the contribution of the three to the LGBT rights movement.
The Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade Alliance estimated that more than 3,000 foreigners also took part in the parade yesterday, representing more than 20 countries.
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes