First held in 2003 with about 500 participants, the event has since grown to over 30,000 last year where participants marched through Ketagalan Boulevard in downtown Taipei.
The theme of the 10th annual Taiwan LGBT Pride parade focuses on marriage equality as well as the official recognition of other relationship models which may include romantic and non-romantic cohabitation.
In a statement on its website, organisers – a coalition of LGBT and other civil society organisations – state that while the movement supports the legalisation of same-sex marriage, it also asks the question “Do I?” in a bid to have the LGBT community and society “examine the institutional, cultural, and social dimensions of gender and class oppression in marriage.”
“Taiwan LGBT Pride emphasizes ‘diversity in partnership forms’ to shatter the reproductive foundation of family and to enrich and affirm all possible forms of family formation.”
It adds: “Diverse forms of family formation should coexist beyond the marriage institution based on one-on-one commitment and loyalty. Marriage of loyalty should be only one of the options with no superior value. It is certainly not the only path, either.”
The statement further calls on the state to allow individuals the choice to define other forms of partnerships that are accorded rights and protections typically provided on the basis of marital status.
“In other words, Taiwan LGBT Pride takes a critical stance on the existing, imperfect marriage institution, while demanding that the state returns the right to define intimate relationship to the people. In doing so, both parties in the relationship can freely arrange their relationships and protect each other’s civil rights with regard to inheritance, property share, medical visit, surgery consent, insurance benefits, and custody. We demand that the government stop being ignorant and respond adequately to the variety of life forms and its lawful rights,” said the statement.
Aside from same-sex partnership rights, the statement also addressed issues related to the Gender Equity Education Act, which after eight years, relevant course materials and curriculum continue to face “sabotage” by the “conservative religious camp.”
The statement also criticised the government’s attempts last year to implement the deportation of foreign HIV-positive visitors.
In 2003 during the administration of former President Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan became the first nation in Asia to introduce a parliamentary bill that sought to legalise marriage and adoption for same-sex couples although no action was taken by Taiwan's legislature. As early as 1986, a gay man by the name of Chi Jia-Wei unsuccessfully challenged the country’s non-gender specific marriage laws. Article 982 of the Civil Code, is that a marriage "be celebrated by open ceremony and in the presence of two or more witnesses." It goes on to state, however, that "persons who have registered for marriage in accordance with the Household Registration Law shall be presumed as married."
The parade will begin at Ketagalan Boulevard at 1pm, split up into two routes (north and south), before joining up at the Boulevard again.
Fridae is proud to be an official sponsor of the 10th Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade.