Tens of thousands of protestors have attended the annual gay
Pride parade in Taiwan's Taipei City with the aim of highlighting
anti-gay discrimination in the country.
The colourful parade, made up of participants holding placards and
wearing distinctive costumes, attracted more than 30,000 people
from across Taiwan and further afield, the Taipei Times
Organisers claim discrimination still exists in Taiwan, despite a
greater acceptance of gays and pro-gay pledges by its president Ma
Co-organiser A-Cheng told the crowd: "We are standing here
together - whether you belong to the LGBT community or not - to
fight back against discrimination against the LGBT community in
this country. Discrimination against LGBT people may seem to have
decreased, but in fact, it's still there, it just changed its form
and was 'upgraded'".
Cheng added, as reported by the Taipei Times: "Nowadays, people
would tell you: 'I don't have any problems with gays, but ...' What
comes after the 'but' could be: 'I don't think gays should be able
to legally get married,' 'students should not be taught about
homosexuality at school,' or something else that's still
discriminatory in nature."
The annual Pride parade has grown from humble beginnings in 2003,
when around a thousand people attended. But the co-organiser of the
inaugural event, J.J. Lai, also warned that despite growing
acceptance, anti-gay discrimination is still prevalent in Taiwan.
He also criticised current president Ma Ying-jeou for failing to
deliver on pro-gay campaign pledges.
"Four years have passed and he's running for his second term, but
we're still not getting what he promised - it's all bullshit," he
told the Taipei Times.
Last month, a gay group presented a petition to the government
with the aim of persuading lawmakers to introduce civil partnership
legislation. Despite proposals to allow gay marriage in 2003, the
policy was not voted on and no legislation currently exists to
allow any form of same-sex union in Taiwan.