Current Affairs

Taiwanese Gay Festival comes to an end

James Phillips September 28, 2006
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This Saturday is the date for Taipei’s annual gay pride march, rounding off two weeks of gay public events within the Taiwanese capital.

Taiwan has over the last two weeks shown the world why it is considered one of the most gay friendly nations in Asia.

September 17th saw Mayor Ma Ying-jeou attend a rally by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) civil rights movement outside City Hall, reports South China Morning Post.

At the rally Mayor Ma declared “tolerance is a necessary virtue in any world-class city. Homosexuality is a natural phenomenon. Gay rights are part of human rights. We want Taipei to be a multi-faceted city filled with love, peace and toleration”.

Yet underneath this public face of acceptance and tolerance, Taipei’s gay community have been angered by what many are seeing as underhand attempts to ruin the event.

Taipei city this year withdrew the annual NT$1 million (HK$236,000) funding for gay rights events that it has donated since 2000.

Additionally Yeh Jie-sheng deputy director of Department of Civil Affairs recently said his department would not promote same-sex marriage until they were legalised.

In 2003,Taiwan became the first Asian country to announce its intention to legalise same-sex marriage, but there has been no legislative action , despite pressure from gay rights activists.

Many see Mr Ma facing an uncomfortable and increasingly pressured situation trying to please the gay community and orthodox conservatives simultaneously.

Last month Christian groups demanded the withdrawal of the city’s funding of gay related events on the grounds that gays did not procreate.

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