TAIPEI: Tens of thousands of people packed Taipei’s streets on Saturday in Asia’s biggest gay pride parade, wearing colorful costumes and carrying rainbow flags as they called on Taiwan’s new government to legalize same-sex marriage.
Supporters waved handmade placards with slogans like “How long will tongzhi have to wait?”—referring to the Chinese term for someone who is gay—as they circled downtown Taipei.
Some took the opportunity to dress up, donning a variety of outfits including swimsuits, wedding dresses and loincloths usually worn by Japanese sumo wrestlers.
Many of the attendees were hopeful that same-sex marriage would soon become a reality under the pro-gay ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is in control of parliament for the first time.
“The call for marriage equality feels stronger than last year,” said Corinne Chiang, who works in the information technology industry.
“We hope same-sex marriage can be realized as soon as possible so our child can have two legal moms,” the 34-year-old said, referring to her family.
Taiwan is one of the region’s most forward-thinking societies when it comes to gay rights, but progress on marriage equality has remained stagnant, because of resistance from the Kuomintang (KMT) party, which dominated politics for decades before being unseated by the DPP in May.
As a result, previous attempts to pass a same-sex marriage bill had stalled, but parliament is soon expected to deliberate fresh proposals on the issue.
President Tsai Ing-wen has also openly supported marriage equality and said she would respect any decision reached by parliament.
“Even though my role has changed, my values remain unchanged,” she wrote on her official Facebook page Saturday. AFP