An estimated 30,000 people joined the 8th annual Taiwan LGBT Pride (台灣同志遊行) march in the centre of Taipei yesterday. Light rain did not stop the crowds from coming out to march with the numbers up on last year. The march is said to be largest LGBT Pride event in Asia.
The theme for this year’s event was “Out & Vote” (投同志政策一票). Politicians in Taiwan often make promises about gay rights, but have failed to implement their promises or pass legislation to benefit the LGBT community. The Taipei Times has a good article giving some more background on some of the key issues.
The parade began on Ketagalan Boulevard and then marched on a route through Ximending. The march stopped on Zhongxiao West Road outside Taipei Station and the crowd held up signs with the symbol used to mark ballots in Taiwan.
This year I marched with a coalition of human rights groups in Taiwan which included Amnesty International and the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty. The group handed out postcards about the case of Su Chien-ho (蘇建和), one of the Hsichih trio. The next verdict on his case, which has dragged through the courts for 19 years, will be handed down on 12 November and there are events around Taiwan in the next few weeks to increase public awareness of the case. More details are available at www.hsichih-trio.url.tw.
Sung Chia-lun (宋佳倫) is the Green Party candidate for Taipei City Council in the Wanhua and Zhongzheng districts. According to the Taipei Times article linked to above she is one of three openly gay candidates running in the election for Taipei City Council. The Green Party also had a strong presence with many of their candidates for the forthcoming five cities election joining the march.
While the parade was on Zhongxiao West Road a pastor from a Christian church stood up and gave a speech. He said that every year around the time of the LGBT Pride Parade some Christians will say things like gays cause typhoons. However, we shouldn’t listen to them because God loves everybody. The Chinese characters on the sign in the background say “God loves gays” (上帝愛同志).
The rally ended on Ketagalan Boulevard with more speeches and performances. I had to leave early so I missed most of them including a performance by Amit (Chang Hui-mei, 張惠妹) who was this year’s rainbow ambassador.