The 10th annual Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade took place today in Taipei, the country’s capital, with a record number of over 65,000 participants.
Taiwan’s gay pride started off ten years ago with a mere 500 participants, growing into one of Asia’s largest LGBT pride parades.
The parade proceeded through downtown Taipei, with a festive carnival atmosphere, replete with rainbow flags and flamboyant costumes.
The procession set off at 2pm from the presidential office on Ketagalan Boulevard, through the heart of the capital, in two routes, north and south, both returning later to the starting point, at presidential office, where a rally and shows took place.
Gay Hong Kong singer Anthony Wong, Aboriginal singer/songwriter and environmental activist and new age musician Matthew Lien, were just some of the artists and celebrities that entertained the participants.
Besides the party atmosphere the parade was a platform for campaigning for marriage equality.
The parade theme was entitled ‘I Do! Do I? Equal Rights to Marriage, Diversity in Partnership.’
‘The theme this year is to fight for equal rights on marriage. Gay people are also tax-paying citizens and we demand the same basic right as any heterosexual couples,’ told Mu Chuan, one of the organisers of the march, to AFP.
Chen Chia-yu, spokesperson for pride, told Taipei Times: ‘We think the right to marry is a basic human right.
‘And whether or not a person actually wants to get married, marriage should be a basic right that all citizens have.’
The parade attracted participants from all over Asia, including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines, to name a few.
‘I just want to tell the world we have the right to love equally like others,’ told Kongpaphop Panya to AFP, a 30-year-old doctor who came from Thailand with three friends.
Taiwanese rights groups have launched a campaign to collect one million signatures for a bill they drafted for marriage equality that they aim to submit to parliament next year.
Yesterday, opposition party DPP chair Su Tseng-Chang said he backs same-sex marriage: ‘I'm sorry that I won't be able to join the parade in person but I can make it clear here that I support the legalization of same-sex marriage,’ he wrote on his Facebook page.
‘Homosexual relationships happen naturally, just like in the Lady Gaga song “Born this Way”’, he added.
Taiwan is one of the most culturally liberal societies in East Asia, and gay and lesbian groups have been urging the government for years to make same-sex unions legal.
In August, two women tied the knot in the island's first same-sex Buddhist 'wedding' in a much-publicised event with the blessings of a well-known Buddhist master and 300 Buddhist guests.