Tens of thousands celebrate Taiwan Pride

Over 80,000 supporters of gay rights and marriage equality marched in the 14th annual Taiwan LGBT Pride today.

People took to the streets of Tapei City to show their support of marriage equality in Taiwan, which could soon become the first country win Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

The country is one of the most progressive in Asia on LGBT rights, providing some LGBT rights protections and allowing some limited recognition of same-sex relationships.

Supporters of the LGBT community donned their best costumes and rainbow flags in front of the office of the presidents.

The draft legislation currently passing through the motions in Taiwan also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We will welcome this reform, but it will not be the end as there remain many problems in the marriage system,” Taiwan LGBT spokesman Hsiao Pai said.

The spokesman said 82,000 had joined the march on Saturday, despite the rain.

Participants included gay rights supporters from the EU, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

Over 100 Taiwan gay rights, human rights, feminist and student groups were joined by delegations from several diplomatic missions in Taipei, including the American Institute in Taiwan.

A vocal supporter of same-sex marriage was elected as Taiwan’s new President at the beginning of the year.

The country, known variously as Taiwan, the Republic of China and Chinese Taipei, made the step today by electing Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party as President.

As well as being the country’s first female President, Ms Tsai is an outspoken independence campaigner who has called for the country to gain more autonomy from China.

She is also a strong advocate for LGBT rights and same-sex marriage – despite no other Asian country passing equal marriage laws to date.

President Tsai Ing-wen expressed support for the rally and marriage equality on her Facebook page Saturday, reminding followers of her professed support for marriage equality.