In a spirited and vibrant display of LGBTQ+ equality and diversity, an estimated 180,000 people flooded the streets of Taipei for East Asia’s largest Pride march. This historic event witnessed Vice President Lai Ching-te becoming the highest-ranking government official ever to attend. It unfolded against the backdrop of Taiwan’s impending presidential and parliamentary elections in January, with Lai leading the polls for the presidency and lending his support to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Lai expressed gratitude to those who had tirelessly advocated for equality and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2019, a cause championed by President Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP. He remarked, “Equal marriage is not the end – it’s the starting point for diversity. I will stand steadfast on this path.”
Accompanied by a backdrop of scantily clad male dancers on a truck, Lai joined the DPP delegation, marching proudly behind a banner proclaiming “Democracy Supports Gays,” while supporters enthusiastically called out “Hello Mr. President.”
None of the other three presidential candidates made an appearance, although the youth wing of the main opposition Kuomintang party did, vocally affirming their party’s support for equality as they passed by Lai. The vibrant parade, now in its 21st year, featured go-go dancers and drag queens, transforming the streets of central Taipei into a spectacle of color and celebration.
According to organizers, approximately 176,000 participants, including many foreigners, were present at the parade. President Tsai Ing-wen, in a Facebook message, emphasized the importance of Taiwan’s democracy and freedom in fostering acceptance and respect for everyone’s characteristics and differences.
Taiwan’s unwavering support for LGBTQ+ issues stands in stark contrast to its neighboring giant, China, which asserts territorial claims over the island. While same-sex relations are not illegal in China, same-sex marriage remains prohibited, and the government has intensified its crackdown on LGBTQ+ activists and media representations.