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Thousands march in Taiwan's biggest Pride

Sun 14 Oct 2007 In: International News View at Wayback

Thousands of gays, lesbians and transsexuals marched through the streets of Taipei Saturday in the Taiwan capital's biggest pride celebration to date. A Taipei Pride marcher Five years ago only a handful of people turned out, but this year some 10,000 people took part, more than four-times the number from a year ago. Like pride parades in Europe and America, it was led off by the rainbow flag with marchers decked out in often outrageous costumes. But uniquely Asian, the marchers also carried banners - red considered a symbol of sex, orange for power. And like parades elsewhere Taipei gays tied a message to the partying - "we're here, we're queer, and want our rights". LGBT civil rights bills have been languishing for years in their Parliament, however. In 2003 the cabinet approved a draft anti-discrimination bill and in 2005 a draft of a marriage equality bill was endorsed by cabinet. Neither piece of legislation has made to a vote on the floor. Presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou addressed a gay rightsrally on Saturday, saying that the parade was evidence of a diverse culture which embraced human rights. He told the rally that all people in society should receive equal treatment and respect regardless of sexual orientation, but he did not go so far as to pledge he would press for passage of either rights bill if elected in 2008. Last year, Ma, as mayor of Taipei, helped hoist the rainbow flag in a plaza in front of city hall to mark the start of pride. It was the first time that Taiwan's gay community had been officially recognized on the island. In 2004, a study commissioned by the Taiwan Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Association found that 36% of Taiwan's gays have been harassed or discriminated against because of their sexuality. The survey showed that the majority of harassment cases occurred on university campuses, but almost as many cases were perpetrated by family members. A quarter of the cases occurred in the workplace.     Ref:, AFP (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Sunday, 14th October 2007 - 10:54am

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