Taiwan attracts people from all over Asia and around the world for its annual gay-pride parade, the largest in Asia. This year’s crowds drew over 80,000 participants. While people are able to celebrate diversity, inclusiveness, and being themselves at this annual event, couples in the queer community are still not afforded one of the basic privileges given to heterosexual couples--marriage.
In recent months, there has been a contentious push in Taiwan for the legalization of same-sex marriage. On December 26, 2016 the same-sex marriage bill, proposed by DPP Legislator Yu Mei-Nu, passed the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee. If passed, Taiwan would become the first country in Asia to achieve marriage equality.
The debate over same-sex marriage has galvanized Taiwanese society, bringing thousands of protestors to the streets and mobilizing civil society groups and religious groups.
The proposed amendment to Taiwan’s Civil Code would allow homosexual couples to access the same marital, parents, and adoptive rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. The marriage bill will further be discussed in the Legislative Yuan in the next session, which starts in mid-February.
Taiwan is currently debating whether or not to allow same-sex marriage. If the legislation passes, Taiwan would become the first country in Asia to achieve marriage equality.
Taiwan has the largest Pride parade in Asia. On October 30th, 2016, over 80,000 people came out on a rainy, gray day to march. There was a sense of festive camaraderie as people of all ages and nationalities came sporting rainbow gear and colorful costumes.
At the Pride parade, many people called on the government to support LGBT rights, particularly marriage equality.
Many different groups came out to show their colors at Pride, including queer and disability advocacy groups.
Other attendees included champions of transgender rights.
Since Pride, many protests and rallies have ensued both for and against marriage equality. On November 17th, over 20,000 people came out in support of the marriage equality bills being discussed in the Legislative Yuan.
Citizens have called on Tsai Ing-Wen to follow through on her election promise to support marriage equality.
Opponents of marriage equality have argued that same-sex marriage will cause the breakdown of traditional family structures and negatively impact children. Nevertheless, advocates, allies and queer families used facts, positive energy and valuable life stories to demonstrate otherwise.
On December 10th, 2016, over 250,000 people attended a public rally and concert organized by proponents of same-sex marriage. The collective voice of the attendees resonated at a critical moment, when Taiwan's legislative body was poised to discuss moving forward with the next stages of the marriage equality bills.
The pro-equality rally on December 10th was the largest public demonstration Taiwan has experienced since the 2014 Sunflower Movement, which drew a crowd of 500,000.