More than 100,000 people thronged the streets of Taipei on Saturday last week for East Asia’s largest Pride parade, months after Taiwan began formally allowing same-sex marriage, the first place in Asia to do so.
Proudly democratic Taiwan is a bastion of liberal values in a part of the world where in many countries homosexuality remains illegal. Since legalization on May 24, more than 2,150 same-sex couples have married in Taiwan, government data shows.
Organizers say more than 200,000 people marched through the streets of Taipei in a parade that ended in the evening on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office.
Chi Chia-wei, a gay rights activist who brought a case to Taiwan’s constitutional court that led to a landmark court ruling on same-sex marriage in 2017, told Reuters that everyone was extremely happy. “We used to be worried and fearful, but we have accomplished it, so we are all joining the Pride parade with joy,” he said while standing on a balcony waving a big rainbow flag to the crowds below.
Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Taiwan’s giant neighbor China, which claims Taiwan as its sacred territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under Beijing’s control.
A small group shouted their support for anti-government protests in Hong Kong, which have roiled the former British colony for the last four months. “Taiwan’s democracy supports homosexuals. Taiwan’s homosexuals support Hong Kong,” a group of about 50 people chanted.
Still, same-sex marriage has not had an easy ride in Taiwan. On Nov. 24 last year, Taiwanese voters opposed same-sex marriage in a series of referendums, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman in civil law.
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