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Taiwan holds in-person Pride and protest outside autocrat’s memorial hall

Taiwan holds in-person Pride and protest outside autocrat’s memorial hall

  • Extra Pride event was to show solidarity with cancelled Prides around the world.
Pride-goers collecting face masks in Taipei.

Pride-goers displayed a giant rainbow flag outside Taiwan’s memorial hall for the late autocratic leaderChiang Kai-shek.

Chiang died in 1975 but his memory still angers Taiwanese people. While some praise him as an anti-communist hero, Taiwanese people remember him as a despot who imprisoned and killed opponents.

Some chanted ‘Fuck you, Chiang Kai-shek’ until police encouraged them to move on.

But the main message of the event on Sunday (28 June) was global LGBT+ unity. Organizers billed it as the ‘Taiwan Pride Parade for the World’ and it attracted a few hundred Taiwanese and ex-pat Pride-goers.

In fact the country’s capital, Taipei, hopes to hold the official Taiwan Pride as normal on 31 October when the weather is better. But they organized this additional event to show solidarity with LGBT+ communities which have had to cancel their Prides around the world.

Darien Chen, represented Taiwan at Mr Gay World 2013 and helped organise Sunday’s event. He told Reuters they were representing hundreds of cancelled Prides:

‘With the rest of the world under the peak of the epidemic, only Taiwan can do this. Of course we won’t give in, and we must continue with this flame of hope and stand up for the world, to hold the only parade in the world in this Pride month.’

One year of same-sex marriage in Taiwan

Chen added that LGBT+ Taiwanese people also wanted to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s first Pride marches in the US.

But Taiwan has another important anniversary to celebrate. It is now a year since the country became the first in the region to allow same-sex marriage on 24 May 2019.

The island nation is a beacon for LGBT+ rights in Asia and Taipei has a thriving gay district. It’s main Pride event usually attracts a far bigger crowd, of around 80,000. Indeed, the city even has a temple to the Rabbit God whose special duty is to oversee gay love and sex.