It’s been a much different Pride season than we all expected. We’ve foregone our traditional celebrations of parades and festivals and have found new ways of gathering virtually or physically distant for the safety of all the community. I’ve spent most of this month remembering the empowering moments I’ve shared with the LGBTQ+ community and members of my chosen family. In doing so, one major event in my life is Taiwan Pride, which was part of a trip I took in October 2019, before the world came to a screeching halt in March. So before Pride season comes to an end, I’d like to share a look back at Taiwan Pride when we were able to celebrate in mass proportions.
My trip was an unforgettable experience where I met an incredible group of queer writers and bloggers who were also ready to experience one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world.
Before Taiwan Pride, we visited queer spaces that are historic in the strides made by the LGBTQ+ community.
We visited GinGin Bookstore, Taiwan’s first LGBTQ+ store focusing on queer media and located at the heart of Taipei. GinGin has seen its share of struggles fitting into the community, but it is now a well-known staple in Taipei that has been instrumental in the LGBTQ+ movement.
A hub for Taiwan Pride visitors is the Ximending Red House, a theater constructed in 1908 that now houses major events. The outdoor complex features gay bars, shops, and restaurants and buzzes louder than usual during Pride season in Taipei.
The first Taiwan Pride parade was held in 2003, but in 2019, Taiwan voted to legalize same-sex marriage so 2019 was the first Pride celebration where Taiwanese citizens could truly feel free as they paraded from Taipei City Hall through city streets.
After days of exploring Taiwan, our group joined over 200,000 people for the biggest Pride Taiwan has ever seen and celebrated the win for marriage equality in Asia. Last year’s theme, “Together, Make Taiwan Better”, stood for the long-term care for the elderly, de-stigmatization of HIV/AIDS, gender equity education, workplace equality, marriage equality, equal rights for people with disabilities, rights for indigenous people and immigrants and sex workers, as well as transformative justice, and as members of the LGBTQ+ community, the continued learning about these issues, and the further support of one other.
It’s over a year since Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Lead by President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan won the right after a multiple year fight and in spite of a referendum voting against same-sex marriage. On the day of the announcement, 200 couples had already registered to get married.
As the country continues to lead in nuptial progress, Taiwan News has reported that over 3,500 same-sex couples have gotten married.
Currently, Taiwanese citizens are only allowed to marry same-sex partners from countries where gay marriage is legal. Gay rights activists in Taiwan have launched a crowd sourcing project to push for the legalization of same sex unions between Taiwanese nationals and people from places that ban the practice.
Here’s a look at some of the great moments during Taiwan Pride 2019, a celebration that I hope to experience again when it is safe to do so.