Sat, Oct 28, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Foreign envoys endorse Pride Parade

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Members of National Taiwan University’s NTUGayChat organization hold slogans and rainbow flags during a protest on the university’s campus in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

On the eve of an annual gay parade in Taipei, 12 nations’ representative offices, mostly from Europe, yesterday issued a joint statement expressing the hope that Taiwan would continue spearheading the promotion of respect and tolerance in Asia and the world.

The 12 offices are those of the EU, Britain, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as Canada and Australia.

The offices serve as their nations’ de facto embassies in the absence of official diplomatic ties, mostly handling economic and cultural affairs.

In the statement, the offices announced that they would be participating in this year’s Taiwan Pride Parade, which is the largest in Asia and one of the largest in the world, to celebrate respect, diversity and the nation’s open society.

“It is the common position of the participating offices that the universality of human rights is ensured to everyone without discrimination, regardless of their gender, identity or sexual orientation,” the statement said.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) community has in recent years made remarkable progress in advancing human rights around the world, the statement said, with nations decriminalizing homosexuality or enacting new statues that ensure the protection of individuals with different sexual orientations.

“None of these changes could have happened without the dedication of courageous activists working to advance equal rights for LGBTI persons,” it said. “The Taiwan Pride Parade is therefore an excellent opportunity to raise this awareness.”

The offices said Taiwan has demonstrated itself to be a vanguard of gay rights advancement, adding that they hope that the nation would “continue to be a leader in promoting respect and tolerance over bigotry and discrimination.”

Taiwan is set to become the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage after the Council of Grand Justices issued an constitutional interpretation in May ruling that the existing marriage laws are unconstitutional and demanding that they be amended within two years.

The Taiwan Pride Parade began in 2003 and is now in its 15th year. The theme for this year’s parade is “Make Love, Not War — Sex Ed [education] Is The Way to Go.”

This year’s parade consists of three different routes, with the participants scheduled to depart from Ketagalan Boulevard at 2:30pm today. Members of the representative offices are to join the westward route.

The EU Economic and Trade Office said the directors of all participating offices are expected to take part in the parade, except for the Austrian director, who has a schedule conflict. About 50 to 60 members of staff are also to participate.

Earlier this week, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Kin Moy and his wife appeared in a video calling on the public to join this year’s parade, saying that both Taiwan and the US share a deep appreciation of human rights.

Though the AIT was not among the signatories of the statement, AIT spokeswoman Sonia Urbom said the institute would be proudly participating in the parade for the second consecutive year.

“The AIT embraces diversity and is glad to show our support for Taiwan’s LGBT community,” she said.

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