(Taiwan Pride, 1/5)
Last Saturday, Taiwan’s annual pride parade took place in Taipei (as usual), this year under the motto “Stand with Diversity.” With its estimated 176.000 participants, Taiwan Pride was the largest such event in South East Asia this year. (Tokyo reported over 200.000 people).
Pride in Taiwan
Starting in 2003, Taiwan Pride grew to be one of the most important and popular in the region. It overtook Tel Aviv in 2019 to become the biggest Pride in Asia – the year same sex marriage was legalized in Taiwan. Since May of this year 2023, gay couples have full adoption rights in Taiwan. Different from the US and several European countries, LGBTQ+ rights are not a major issue of polarization in the upcoming election. Even though of the current presidential candidates only current Vice President William Lai (賴清德) attended personally, all parties sent some delegations to attend.
Taiwan Pride 2023
The event was joyful through and through, with people from all stances of life taking part and many international guests joining. I talked to several who flew to Taiwan just for the event. For guests from Europe and the US, it was a great way to experience Taiwan and its open society outside of TV and smartphone screens. For those coming from other SEA countries with much stricter rules, it was a lived example for what they aspire their societies to be one day.
Set love free
Personally, I was deeply moved by the event. I can hardly remember seeing as many smiling faces and feeling as light about the state of the world as during that day. It helped me to remember that progress in terms of liberal rights is still possible, that the goal of freedom is not to win elections but to allow people to live their life to the fullest.
There are still important issues when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights in Taiwan, yet the parade was an event to celebrate the accomplishments of the past, even more so to enjoy the freedom to love whomever you fall in love with in the present. (Or who you think is incredibly hot!)
(The image brings together many of the facets of the parade: Colorful costumes, corporate and political support, many people, many smiles, and a lot of joy.)