Taipei has long been one of the most progressive regions in Asia. It confirmed that reputation earlier in May when it became the first country in the whole of Asia to recognize same-sex marriage – a historic decision that was welcomed by many and has inspired activists in other countries to continue to push for change.
Since that time, over 2,100 couples have wed.
On Saturday, Taipei held its annual Pride celebration. It was always guaranteed to be a big event, but the arrival of same-sex marriage earlier this year ensured that there was an even more joyous and pride-enthused atmosphere than usual.
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The parade assembled in Taipei City Hall Square. Local activist Chi Chia-wei addressed the crowd from a balcony, saying, “We used to be worried and fearful, but we’ve accomplished it. So we’re all joining the Pride parade with joy,” reported Reuters.
China claims sovereignty over autonomous Taiwan, which has its own democratically-elected government.
Local Taiwanese authorities support the Pride festival. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport dislayed prominent rainbow banners welcoming people to Pride.
The Taiwan Foreign Ministry posted to its Facebook page, “This is the 17th #TaiwanPride, and, as ever, the biggest in #Asia! We hope you have your glad rags on, because this year’s celebration should be a special one after the passing of #SameSexMarriage legislation, with over 200,000 people expected to attend from all over the world!”
One visiting American was blown away by the inclusiveness of the event.
“I’ve never felt so included at a Pride parade before!” said Jessie Dean, who heralds from Louisiana but is now living in Taipei. “In America, we usually watch from the sides as floats and people go by. Here in Taipei, the purpose of this parade was to walk together, to be all-inclusive, to really celebrate love.
“I felt such excitement, such sensation – a true belonging and awareness of what this day means for so many in this beautiful country, and people from all over the world.”
Travel blogger Mike John Diaz was also experiencing the festival for the first time.
“It has exceeded my expectations,” he told GayCities. “People coming all over the world to witness this event is an indication of how united we are as a community to support not only Taiwan’s LGBTQ population but the entire community as a whole.”