In May this year, laws allowing same-sex marriage took effect in Taiwan after decades of lobbying. This makes Taiwan the first in Asia that allows same-sex marriage. The law was signed by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. ❤
Taiwan’s capital Taipei is currently home to the largest LGBTQ pride march in Asia (after Tel Aviv). It sees tens of thousands of people gather on the streets in a parade of love, protest, representation, and belonging. It also attracts thousands of LGBTQ tourists from across Asia.
Taiwan Pride March is normally held on the last Saturday of October. This year’s big event took place on October 26. It was a highlight to be in Taipei when the weather is comfortable in the mid-20 degrees. Luckily no typhoons!
Getting to Taipei
Taipei is one of the most well-connected cities in Asia. From Singapore, it was a four a half-hour flight. The airport is convenient and easy to navigate. Americans have up to 90 days visa-free on arrival. From the airport, you can take a commuter train or an express train to get to Taipei Main Station.
My friend Colin and I booked beds at the Ximen WOW Hostel in Ximending district. It’s a 15-minute walk from Taipei Main Station. I write about the hostel here. If you want to learn more about the Ximen Pedestrian Area, I share photos here.
About this year’s pride march
According to the website, the theme this year is “Together, Make Taiwan Better”. The starting point is at Taiwan City Hall plaza. The route is pretty straightforward and takes you down major roads towards Ketagalan Boulevard. The official website has information in English here.
Getting to the Pride March
With over 200 groups participating in the march, it could be overwhelming for independent participants. Colin and I were ready to jump into the parade at our own pace but I reached out to the Microsoft Taiwan group since Microsoft is the parent company of my employer. Thanks to a friend in the Microsoft Singapore office, I got connected and received instructions to meet the group at 1:30 PM outside Taipei City Hall metro.
At first, we couldn’t locate the Microsoft group. Colin and I decided to walk up these steps nearby to get a better perspective of the scene.
Finally, we spotted the Microsoft group! I literally knew no one… but we were quickly welcomed and given Pride singlets and stickers. One of the stickers is a Microsoft Outlook pride sticker. MICROSOFT OUTLOOK PRIDE STICKER.
This is the third country I’ve attended pride after Singapore (Pink Dot in June) and the Philippines (Manila Pride, also in June). The main difference being… the temperature! The atmosphere at pride is always electrifying. You can feel the energy and love.
Colin and I joined the Microsoft group for the march. But it was so packed… we often would end up pulling away from the group and walking with other marchers.
I’ll share the rest in videos and photos!
About two hours into the pride march, Colin and I were exhausted from walking and decided to take a detour and eat a nearby cafe. We didn’t make it to the end of the parade route but I was happy to have experienced it. Seeing different parts of society come together and celebrate pride is like participating in the fight for our time.
My thoughts on pride
Pride is about visibility and showing solidarity with the rest of the gay community. We’re here and we care about the ones we love. We want to be able to marry the ones we love. We want to be able to hold their hands in public without feeling discriminated against.
Taiwan’s Pride March sets the stage for other pride marches in this part of the world. I’m very happy for my Taiwanese brothers and sisters. But I also stand with them to defend what’s been achieved. A big battle may have been won earlier this year. But the fight is far from over in Taiwan and in Asia.
Happy Pride, Taiwan! ❤
News articles that covered this event:
- In pictures: Thousands join Pride parade in Taiwan (BBC)
- Taiwan revels in first pride march since legalising gay marriage (Channel NewsAsia)
- 200,000 join Taiwan’s pride march five months after island legalises same-sex marriage (South China Morning Post)
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