Sun, Oct 28, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Pride urges people to ‘vote for equality’

‘GREATEST PARTY EVER’:The European representative to Taiwan praised the nation’s efforts to improve LGBT rights, but said that more concrete steps are needed

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Participants at the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade pose for a group photograph in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Nearly 140,000 people from home and abroad yesterday marched through the streets of Taipei in support of better protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, calling on Taiwanese voters to “vote for equality” in the five LGBT-related referendums tied to next month’s local elections.

Taipei’s skies were filled with rainbow flags, as participants departed from Ketagalan Boulevard at 2:30pm and headed in three different directions, before congregating back on the boulevard.

According to the rally’s organizers, Taiwan LGBT Pride, the march, now in its 16th year, attracted about 137,000 people, up from last year’s 123,000.

Due to the annual parade’s growing popularity in Asia and the world, there has been increasing racial, age and occupational diversity among the participants, the organizers said.

The theme this year was “Tell your story, vote for equality,” as the organizers wanted to draw attention to the importance of gender equality education, while urging young Taiwanese to vote in the referendums on Nov. 24 “to safeguard the rainbow,” said a Taiwan LGBT Pride Community general coordinator, who only identified himself as “Hsiao Pai” (小白).

The five referendums, three of which were initiated by anti-LGBT groups, could decide whether the government would legalize same-sex marriage and whether LGBT-inclusive education will be taught in elementary and junior-high schools.

Mickey Liu (柳皓恩), 26, who joined the march from Hsinchu, said his parents have known he is gay since he was 19.

“When they found out, our relationship went through a rough period. However, as they learned more about the LGBT community, they came to understand and accept it,” Liu said.

A 48-year-old Japanese man who declined to disclose his name said that he came to Taiwan just for the parade and that he found Taiwanese to be “very nice and open” to people with different sexual orientations.

Asked whether he hopes to attend such a parade in his country one day, he said that Japan “is not there yet.”

Liam Arne, a 22-year-old American who has been living in Taiwan for three months, said he is happy to see the progress the nation has made in improving LGBT rights.

European Economic and Trade Office Director Madeleine Majorenko said it was her fourth time attending the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade, which she called “the greatest party ever.”

British Representative to Taiwan Catherine Nettleton said Taiwan is a progressive society in various aspects, with a thriving democracy and media.

She said she hopes the progress made on the issue of marriage equality will evolve into a solid result.

German Institute Taipei Director-General Thomas Prinz said the parade alone is a symbol for a free and democratic society, adding that changes take time and that Taiwan is headed in the right direction.

Prior to the start of the parade, more than 30 church leaders, pastors and theologians from 13 nations, including the US, the Philippines, India, South Korea and Singapore, gathered on the boulevard to voice support for the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) community, expressing the hope that the nation sets an example by liberating people who are being oppressed due to their sexual orientation.

The participants included US bishop Yvette Flunder, Malaysian Pastor Ngeo Boon Lin, who is Asia’s first openly gay clergy member with a doctorate in theology, Japanese transgender priest Ambrosia Goto Kaori and Indian intersex social activist Daniel Medonca.

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