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'Corona-freed' Taiwan celebrates Pride

October 31, 2020

Taiwan has staged its LGBT+ Pride rally, 200 days free of local coronavirus infections. Some 130,000 celebrated the island nation’s vanguard role on same-sex marriage in Asia, but this year's turnout was smaller.

Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade 2020
Image: Hsiuwen Liu/ZUMAPRESS/picture alliance

Rainbow-masked revelers paraded through Taiwan's capital, Taipei, Saturday, celebrating equality gains since it allowed same-sex marriages last year, despite objections from religious conservatives.

President Tsai Ing-wen, re-elected to a second term last January, urged the country via social media Saturday to embrace "love, tolerance and a better Taiwan."

The mingling went ahead after 200 days in a row without a single recorded local infection, thanks to Taiwan's early 2020 response that saw arrivals from rival China and other origins tested and quarantined, limiting Taiwan's toll to 7 deaths. 

Asian Gay Games host next year

Drag queen Qu Po-sung wore a red banquet dress at Saturday's parade and vowed to attend "all of my friends' weddings as the rally wound through Taipei, which next year is due to host Asia's Gay Games.

Read more: Taiwan parliament approves gay marriage bill

Since Taiwan legalized same-sex marriages in May 2019, more than 4,000 couples have registered nuptials, including two women military officers married Friday. 

Rights vanguard role

Taiwan, though, is seen as the vanguard of a burgeoning movement in Asia for LGBT+ rights.

Read more: Taiwan military marries LGBT+ couples for first time

"Taiwan is Asia's first," said Chien Chi-chieh, secretary general of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnerships Rights.

"That makes us proud,” added Chen Wei-chun, a bank employee. "Taiwan has done a fantastic job at both equality and pandemic control."

ipj/rc (Reuters, AFP)