Taiwan: Thousands of LGBT members and their friends and supporters have taken the opportunity of the annual gay Pride Parade in Taipei to demonstrate for equality laws in one of Asia’s most respectful of countries toward sexual diversity.
The parade, now in its 12th year, attracted thousands of LGBT rights supporters from across the globe, who took to Taipei’s streets Oct 25, posing for selfies with onlookers and comfortable with their sexuality, according to Xinhua.
“We want to make ‘the minority of the minority’– people who are bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual — more visible,” Taiwan LGBT Pride Community’s Albert Yang told China’s news service agency.
The parade first held in 2003 with about 500 participants has grown to record 60,000 people last year, making it the largest gay pride event in any Chinese community. Yang estimated this year’s parade attracted at least 50,000 people.
Alongside the local LGBT members were about 140 groups from universities and MNCs such as Google and Ernst & Young as well as supporters from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.
The thousands of participants urged parliament to push through a controversial bill recognizing same-sex marriage as they waved placards reading “equal marriage rights” and “support gay marriage.”
“Gay and lesbian groups in Taiwan, one of Asia’s more liberal societies, have been urging the government for years to legalize same-sex marriage,” reports AFP.
“Conservative forces have been lobbying hard against the bill, and accused us of demanding privileges, when we are asking for equal rights,” Yang told that news agency.
Marriage between same-sex couples is not legally recognized in Taiwan, although 3.5 to 5 percent or at least 1.2 million of the 23.4 million people in Taiwan identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
A draft bill that would legalize same-sex marriage cleared a first reading in the Legislative Yuan last year and was sent to the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee for review.
However, since then, the bill’s progress has stalled, largely due to religious opposition as seen in last year’s rally against revising Article 972 of the Civil Code to change the term “man and woman” to “two parties” in the article concerning marriage and the term “father and mother” to “parents” in the Civil Code.