Thousands turned out for Taiwan’s annual Pride parade over the weekend.
An estimated 137,000 were in attendance for the annual Pride celebrations this year, according to organisers, making it the biggest of its kind in East Asia. The theme of the parade was “Tell Your Story, Vote For Equality”.
This year’s parade had extra significance for the LGBTQ community in Taiwan, as the country will be taking part in referendums on same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ issues next month, to coincide with local elections.
Happy Pride! Around 140,000 people from around Asia (& world) joined today's #TaiwanPride. Taiwan is quickly moving to be the first East Asian country with marriage equality–Legislative Yuan in 2017 said it's possible under the constitution, and citizens vote next month. pic.twitter.com/gqoDnO6d7x
— Emily Cardinali 柯依薇 (@emilycardinali) October 27, 2018
In 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage and gave the government until May 2019 to change the law – if they didn’t do so, same-sex marriage would become legal automatically.
LGBTQ activists have expressed concern that little has been down to push marriage equality forward since the ruling, especially considering President Tsai Ing-wen has promised to support LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage, in the past.
Meanwhile, conservative groups have managed to get a referendum opposing same-sex marriage onto the ballot alongside local elections taking place on 24 November.
In response, pro-LGBTQ campaigners have put forward their own referendum in favour of same-sex marriage, as well as a referendum calling for LGBTQ-inclusive education in schools.
Many who attended this year’s Pride parade used the opportunity to encourage people to vote in favour of marriage equality in the referendum.
Chi Chia-Wei, a Taiwanese gay rights campaigner who helped bring about the constitutional court ruling on same-sex marriage, said he was “extremely disappointed” that the government hadn’t done more to push marriage equality through.
“If you make a promise as a politician, you have to follow through on it,” he said, according to The New York Times. “If you don’t, you’re just playing politics; you’re a liar.”
In 2015, a Ministry of Justice poll indicated that 71% of the Taiwanese population supported same-sex marriage.
Over 137,000 people from across Taiwan and the world took part in the 2018 #TaiwanPride, helping to bring the world’s attention to Taiwan’s continued fight to improve LGBTQ rights. Apart from the March, some iconic figures also joined our “referendum simulation.” pic.twitter.com/1s5gkRF7Lf
— Equal Love Taiwan (@equallovetw) October 27, 2018