The LGBT Civil Rights Movement, Taipei 2006, began an annual gay rights-awareness event yesterday in front of Taipei City Hall.
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou attended and spoke about the importance of tolerance, while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)City Councilor Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) and People First Party City Councilor Dai Hsi-chin (戴錫欽) shook their pompoms with the crowd in a "rainbow wave" dance.
Ma, Lin and Dai are not gay, but attended to show their support for tolerance and respect.
"Tolerance is a necessary virtue for any world-class city," Ma said. "Homosexuality is a natural phenomenon that cannot be suppressed away nor spread beyond its natural bounds. Gay rights are a part of human rights. We want Taipei to be a multifaceted city filled with love, peace and tolerance,"
Ma also credited gay rights with providing common ground between him and mayors in other cities.
"Two years ago, I went to the Love Parade in Berlin. The mayor there, Klaus Wowereit is gay. He wasn't going to see me, but I got to talk to him for 10 minutes at the parade. Also, this year in San Francisco, I met mayor Gavin Newsom. We talked about gay issues and municipal Wi-Fi."
Newsom sent a congratulatory statement to today's event.
Taipei City's funding to support gay pride events are being cut. Ma said the budget cannot afford the added outlay next year.
Ma provided a rainbow flag, which was raised on the flagpole in front of Taipei City Hall. The crowds danced, waving rainbow-colored pompoms in a routine set to Go West by the Village People.