A large crowd, many waving rainbow flags, yesterday marched through Taipei in a riotous celebration of LGBTQ+ equality and diversity in East Asia’s largest Pride march.
This year’s parade, 2023 Taiwan LGBT+ Pride, was aimed at “recognizing the diversity of every person, and respecting and accepting different gender identities,” said the Taiwan Rainbow Civil Association, the event’s organizer.
It was a theme that resonated with the participants, including a number from parts of Asia where diversity is not well understood and their communities are not able to express themselves freely.
The association estimated that 176,000 people joined the march, while police said the attendance was higher than at the last parade, which drew a crowd of 120,000.
Regardless of the number of participants, they packed the streets of central Taipei, with some coming from outside of Asia, including Jean-Luc Romero-Michel, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of human rights, who is openly gay.
Among the groups and organizations in attendance were the Tong-Kwang Light House Presbyterian Church and American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan, as well as a delegation headed by American Institute in Taiwan Director Sandra Oudkirk.
Photo: Cheng I-hwa, AFP
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was led by Vice President William Lai (賴清德).
Lai thanked those who had worked to support equality and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2019 as scantily clad male dancers passed behind him on the back of a truck.
“Equal marriage is not the end — it’s the starting point for diversity. I will stand steadfast on this,” said Lai, who is also the DPP’s presidential candidate in January’s election.
Photo: Chiang Ying-ying, AP
Wu Yi-hsuan (吳怡萱), campaign spokesperson for Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), said that while Ko was not able to attend due to scheduling conflicts, other TPP officials, including herself and TPP Deputy Secretary-General Osmar Hsu (許甫), were on site to show the party’s support.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, did not attend the event, but the KMT’s youth wing did, with its members shouting that their party also supported equality as they passed by Lai.
Several other activities were held in conjunction with the march, including a Rainbow Market with 120 booths, the most in Taiwan Pride history, drag performances and a “Color Diversity” coloring station where people could express what diversity meant to them.
The association said the annual event has a broader role beyond diversity, expressing a more expansive vision for the future of the LGBT+ community.
“With gender issues still in need of continuous attention and advocacy,” Taiwan LGBT+ Pride strives to “be an avenue to celebrate a life that is true and free, a life without discrimination, stigmas and violence,” the association said.
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