My 2019 Taiwan Pride March Experience

My 2019 Taiwan Pride March Experience

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.

The pride march route according to the Taiwan Pride website.

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.

It looks super crowded but it was organised.
The steps near the Taipei City Hall metro station gave us our first view of Taipei 101.

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.

Swag from Microsoft.
Team Microsoft Taipei ready to march.
Terence and his colleague from Microsoft.
These two girls attracted a large crowd. Colin and I were trying to figure out who they were.
The scene at the assembly area which was right in front of Taipei City Hall (background).
This was my outfit btw! I wore a Boracay sando (singlet) and these shorts I bought online.
Bigger companies sent in their branded trucks.
Google has a growing presence on Taiwan. Nice to see their pride vehicle!

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.

Taipei 101 in the background.

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!

A drawing of Taiwan’s president signing the landmark legislation into law earlier this year.
Awww… cute dog!
A whole new world. Revelers come dressed up in costumes.
There were groups that brought flags representing Europe, Canada, and even Hong Kong.
Worldwide support.
One of the party floats in front of us.
They were giving away fans and other memorabilia.
Love this shot of Colin… lost in the crowd!
Colin picks up a fan.
This was how thick the crowd got at the start of the parade.
Marching with Terence from Microsoft.
Terence is a proud ally of the LGBTQ movement.
Freedom to show placards!
I mean if you have it… flaunt it!
Spotted several drag queens along the route too.
This was how it looked like when we got on the main road.
One of the dancers on the float behind us.
I felt people were really HAPPY after same-sex marriage got signed into law.
The sight of rainbow flags.
Marching with Colin.
“Together stronger”
Many came in groups of shared interest.
This guy is really cute!
Corporations have a responsibility to support their employees.
This was towards the end of the pride group.

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.

A drag queen performs ‘Cuz I Love You’ by Lizzo.

Happy Pride, Taiwan! ❤

News articles that covered this event:

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Witnessing thousands gather for Pink Dot SG 2014

Witnessing thousands gather for Pink Dot SG 2014

“What we are and who we are is not a choice. It is not a lifestyle. We are born this way and so we should be proud of ourselves. When we are all lucky to find that special someone, we shouldn’t be told we cannot love. I hope and I know that Singapore will eventually become a place where we all can truly enjoy the freedom to love.”

Watched and observed Singaporeans come together to form their 6th Pink Dot. The atmosphere was electrifying. Reminded me of my first time to attend Manila Pride. It was touching to see all walks of the LGBT spectrum coming together to celebrate so much love. We really have to do our part to end the hate and bigotry. It doesn’t matter if you are in the United States, the Philippines, or Singapore. We all deserve the freedom to love and that truth is universal.

None of photos I took while visiting Pink Dot SG give justice to the incredible showing of love. See photos from their official albums to see more wonderful, beautiful takes from the event.

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A video I took during the national anthem segment:

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Visit Pink Dot SG’s official website for more information.