Thousands join Taiwan’s 17th LGBT Pride parade

Clelbration:The first LGBT pride parade held since the legalization of same-sex marriage in May brought people to the streets of Taipei to ring in ‘year zero’

More than 200,000 people participated in the 17th Taiwan LGBT Pride parade in Taipei yesterday, celebrating what they dubbed “year zero” for marriage equality. The event’s organizers called on corporations to grant homosexual people equal rights in the workplace.

Although the Gender Equality in Employment Act (性別工作平等法) and the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) include provisions on the rights of sexual minorities, it is up to employers to enforce those rules, event convener Cheng Chi-wei (鄭智偉) of the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association said.

For example, just as heterosexual couples can take marriage and maternal leave, human resources departments at private firms and government agencies should also give gay and lesbian couples such rights, Cheng said.

In addition, government agencies and private companies should consider adding content on sex equality to the “continued learning” classes that their employees are required to take, he said.

Commenting on the slogan for this year’s parade — “Treat gay people as if they were your friendly neighbors” — Cheng said that even though homosexual couples can now get married under the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Constitutional Interpretation No. 748 (司法院釋字第748號解釋施行法), he hopes that the public would embrace the fact that members of gender minorities are their neighbors, relatives or colleagues.

Stefan and his partner, Kamon, said they flew from Bangkok to Taipei specifically for the parade and hope that people would be open-minded toward those whose sexualities are different from theirs.

Mariana, a Croatian, said that she took her two young children to the parade so that they could learn a lesson about love and freedom and know that they can “be whatever they want to be.”

A woman surnamed Yang (楊) said that she would like to marry her partner, a woman surnamed Chen (陳), but that they are still trying to broach the topic with their parents.

Yang said that they would like to adopt children, especially underprivileged ones, and hope that lawmakers would soon amend the law to grant homosexual couples the right to adopt children and introduce rules on surrogate parents.

Yesterday’s parade began at Taipei City Hall’s front plaza, before passing through Zhongxiao E Road and ending on Ketagalan Boulevard, where the main stage was set up, spanning about 5.5km, event organizers said.

It was attended by more than 220 teams of participants, including more than 30 that represented corporations, event organizers said.

Employees at the representative offices of the EU, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand and the UK also participated, they said.

by Sean Lin / Staff reporter
Source – Taipei Times