On Saturday, Taiwan held its 12th annual Gay Pride Parade in Taipei as around 80,000 from across the country and Asia participated in one of Asia’s biggest LGBT events. This year’s theme was “embrace sex/sexuality and recognize differences,” because the event organizers want members within the LGBT community to recognize and understand their differences with each other.
The parade kicked off on Ketagalan Boulevard at 2 p.m. and later broke into two teams to tour parts of Taipei City before regrouping in front of the Presidential Office. Participants from different organizations were seen marching with banners calling for equal rights and fair treatment in society. With the ongoing debate about a possible same-sex marriage bill in the legislature, slogans urging for same-sex marriage rights can be seen throughout the procession. Additionally, many participants were also calling for the end of homophobia in Taiwanese society.
However at the same time, a major anti-LGBT group the Taiwanese Family Preservation Union, which has been publicly opposing the same-sex marriage bill, held a press conference at the Taiwanese Legislature. They denounced the parade for promoting a loose sexual morality. The Union showed pictures of parades and slogans from previous years, and argued that messages promoted by the Taiwanese Gay Pride Parade are endangering traditional social value and ethics. The Union argued that while Taiwanese society should remain respectful toward LGBT individuals, some LGBT rights groups often bully netizens expressing different opinions online. They urged the government to scrutinized various social movements and promote an open minded attitude toward sex for Taiwan’s younger generation.
Taiwan Gay Pride’s spokesman Albert Yang said that showcasing the human body is different from obscenely exposing one’s body. He emphasized that the Taiwan Gay Pride Parade encouraged participants to express themselves and showcase their personal look. Many participants relied on dramatic costumes or makeup instead of exposing parts of their body, so the occasional body exposure should not be interpreted as obscenity. He encouraged those who are curious about LGBT culture to personally observe the parade rather than simply read about it from the media.
The 12th annual Taiwan Gay Pride ended within the melody of Taiwanese pop band Mayday’s “Embrace” and a sea of LED lights coming from participants’ mobile phones.
(Feature photo from the Taiwan Gay Pride Parade, by William Yang)