Taiwan's gay parade calls attention to LGBT diversity

Updated: 2014-10-25 19:33


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Taiwan's gay parade calls attention to LGBT diversity

Participants hold giant rainbow flags during the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade in Taipei October 25, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

TAIPEI - In carnival splendor or even cross-dressed, participants in the 2014 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade posed for selfies with onlookers, comfortable and extravert in their lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender skins.

The parade, now in its 12th incarnation, attracted thousands of LGBT rights supporters from across the globe, who took to Taipei's streets on Saturday afternoon for "A Walk in Queer Shoes", celebrating the diversity of LGBT groups.

"There are as many possible gender identities as there are people," said organizers Taiwan LGBT Pride Community's Albert Yang.

"The public may just know about lesbians and gays. That still comes out of the gender binary mindset," Yang said. "We want to make 'the minority of the minority'-- people who are bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual -- more visible."

This year, Yang and his cohorts focused the disadvantaged: HIV carriers, sex workers and the disabled. "Those people also need attention as they may relate to the LGBT groups. For example, a handicapped gay," Yang said.

First held in 2003 with about 500 participants, the parade has grown to be one of the most talked about annual events in Taipei. In 2013, a record 60,000 people took part, making it the largest gay pride event in any Chinese community.

Yang estimated that Saturday's bash attracted at least 50,000 people as they meandered along the route. Departing from Kaidagelan Boulevard in west Taipei, revelers divided into two groups, one heading north and the the other moving southward. When the two groups converged again on Renai Road, they held up leaflets in six colors to form an image of rainbow flag.

Having marched for about two and a half hours, the parade returned to their starting point for a rally, where they sang the chorus of "Embrace", this year's theme song by Taiwanese band Mayday, and joined in a giant group hug.

The organizers had made a video of "Embrace" in sign language to appeal to the deaf, reinforcing the inclusive theme of the 2014 parade with the spotlight on disabled members of LGBT community.

About 140 groups from universities and established companies such as Google and Ernst & Young, took part. The parade also attracted supporters from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.

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