Taiwan's LGBTQ+ community calls for more friendliness

10/30/2021 08:32 PM
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The "Main Stage" of this year
The "Main Stage" of this year's pride parade, where participants joined via video links, in Taipei. CNA photo Oct. 30, 2021

Taipei, Oct. 30 (CNA) Taiwan's LGBTQ+ groups called for more friendliness and understanding from society at the 19th edition of Taiwan LGBT Pride parade held online Saturday.

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer. The "plus" represents other sexual identities, including asexual, pansexual and intersex.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, this year's Taiwan LGBT Pride parade, themed "I (LOVE) Being Out," was held online for the first time in its 19 year history.

In place of the event's normal parade through downtown Taipei, five interactive online "stages" -- "Main Stage," "Party Float," "International Pride Issues," "Parade issues," and "Chat box" were livestreamed on the event's website.

The event included celebrity performances, drag queen shows, chat rooms and online shopping, according to organizer Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association (TWRCAA).

The livestream event across five stages on both YouTube and Facebook platforms tallied over 47,000 views, according to TWRCAA.

CNA photo Oct. 30, 2021
CNA photo Oct. 30, 2021

Tinana Master (那那大師), a gay influencer, performed several pop songs and shared his experience, saying that he suffered bullying in the past, but LGBTQ+ people should be brave and live as their most authentic self.

Lotus Wang (王彩樺), an actress who plays the mother of gay children in a movie and TV show, also sang at the event to show her support, saying that LGBTQ people face more challenge to gain their family's acceptance, but as a mother herself, she loves her children regardless of their sexual orientation.

Other celebrities who participated online included singer Princess Ai (戴愛玲), who is also the event ambassador, Yo Lee (李友廷), Eve Ai (艾怡良), Ella Chen (陳嘉樺) and astrologist Jesse Tang (唐綺陽).

TWRCAA said that even though same-sex unions were legalized in Taiwan in 2019, LGBTQ+ people still face pressure in various aspects of life.

One of the three locations in Taipei, where people can "check in" on social media to take part in the virtual pride parade. CNA photo Oct. 30, 2021
One of the three locations in Taipei, where people can "check in" on social media to take part in the virtual pride parade. CNA photo Oct. 30, 2021

"Friendliness is not exclusive. For example, gender-neutral restrooms are not only used by transgender people. Friendliness means people can feel safe in that space, where they can be themselves," the organizer said.

"Understanding and respect are not merely slogans. Creating a friendly environment is everybody's responsibility. We need to make being 'friendly' part of our daily normal life," the organizer added.

Jhon Kevin Mirafuentes, also known as Teacher Athena within the Filipino community in Taiwan, attended the online Pride parade and talked about the LGBTQ+ situation in her home country, saying that the Filipino Congress just passed an Anti-Discrimination Bill, but same-sex marriage is not recognized in the Philippines and is not included in the bill.

"The State must provide the protection necessary to ensure that its people are protected from injustice brought about by these biases, whether carried out individually or institutionally," she added.

Some students offer free hugs on the streets in Taipei, as their way to participate on the day of the pride parade. CNA photo Oct. 30, 2021
Some students offer free hugs on the streets in Taipei, as their way to participate on the day of the pride parade. CNA photo Oct. 30, 2021

The first Taiwan LGBT Pride parade was held in 2003 and has since become one of the biggest pride events in Asia.

The Pride parade saw a record-breaking turnout of 200,000 in 2019 -- the same year Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, followed by 130,000 for the 2020 edition despite COVID-19 concerns.

(By Ken Wang and William Yen)

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