Category Archives: Taiwan

Taipei Pride ’09 YouTube

Following through with my 2010 resolution to update the WWP blog everyday, I just put together a playlist of some of the best YouTube videos of the ’09 Taipei Pride March.  The ‘Taiwan Pride 2009’ video looks nice, but I think my favorite is the upbeat ‘Love Out Loud’ clip.

If you’ve looked through our Taiwan parade photos, many of the people in these videos might look very familiar! How many do you recognize? ;)

Hah, and for all those who’ve enjoyed the ‘Where’s Waldo’ books, let me know if you catch a glimpse of Chad in these videos, I bet he’s there somewhere …

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheWWPproject

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Taiwan

Taiwan LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No
In 2003 legislation was proposed by the government to grant civil unions or same-sex marriage under the Human Rights Basic law, however it was  opposed by cabinet members and did not succeed – yet, Taiwan did become the first country in Asia to suggest such a law.

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No
◊  The same proposed 2003 Human Rights Basic law would have also allowed for adoption.

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes
◊   There is no policy screening out homosexuals.

Anti-discrimination Laws?  Some
Gender Equity Education Act ( 2003) = Establishes education resources to help eliminate gender discrimination, and promotes gender equality. ◊ Employment Services Act (2007) = Bans discrimination based on sexual orientation at work.

Laws Concerning Gender Identity? Some
◊  As of 2007, female-to-male transgenders cannot get an ID card that identifies them as male unless they have undergone all three parts of gender reassignment surgery.  This law was protested against by the transgender group Taiwan TG Butterfly Garden (chinese only site)

Cultural Points of Interest:

  • While many Asian countries have conservative attitudes toward homosexuality, a 2006 survey by the National Union of Taiwan Women’s Association /Constitutional Reform Alliance showed that 75% of the Taiwanese public supported same-sex relationships.
  • One of Taiwan’s first gay-themed novels became a public TV mini-series (link).  The novel, Crystal Boys, told the story of gay runaway youths living in Taipei during the early 1970s.  The 2009 Pride parade marched by the 228 Memorial Park, featured in both the novel and mini-series as a main meeting place for Taipei’s gay community.
  • The second film by award winning director Ang Lee, a native of Taiwan, was “Xi Yan” aka “The Wedding Banquet” (1993).  The film tells the story of a gay Taiwanese man living in New York who decides to marry an illegal immigrant from China in order to satisfy his parents.  Problems arise when his parents show up in the US to arrange an extravagant wedding celebration.  The film won several awards, and received nominations for the Golden Globe and Oscar awards.

Websites:

GlobalGayz is a gay-owned travel, news and culture website focused on les-bi-gay-trans life in countries around the world.  It provides gay travel, life, cultural information, and news, on various countries, including Taiwan. http://www.globalgayz.com/country/Taiwan/TWN

Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association = This group was the first registered national LGBT organization in Taiwan. With ideas of peer counseling, support network and community center, Hotline works to eliminate discrimination and unjust treatment towards the LGBT community. http://www.hotline.org.tw/

Out in Taiwan = This is a comprehensive and uncensored gay resource for English speakers in Taiwan. http://www.outintaiwan.com/

Taiwan LGBT Pride = While primarily in Chinese, this is the website for the Taiwan LGBT Pride Community, which helps organize the yearly parade. http://www.twpride.info/

The Beginning: Taipei March, 2009

It all started simply enough, Sunday breakfast and newspapers. Chad (Charles) and I were having breakfast at a local outdoor diner near the apartment we share in Taipei, Taiwan. I was engrossed in the China Post, one of Taipei’s English language newspapers, when I came across a picture of some very displeased Taiwanese, some carrying giant wooden crosses while others held up signs. The article was about an anti-gay march, a preemptive strike held a week before the annual Taipei gay pride march.

Taiwanese Protester

A shirtless gay rights supporter carries a cross during a counter-protest against marching anti-gay Christian groups in Taipei. (CNA)

It just seemed so odd, while I’d been use to seeing bible-bashers in my native US seeing pictures of the 2,000 or so Christian protestors with their message of “purifying the skies of Taiwan” seemed a little out of place in a country where Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism dominate. I showed the article to Chad, and he decided to photograph the 2009 Taipei March.

The images from the parade were strong, showing the energy and pride of the 20,000 plus that attended the march, one of the largest in Asia.  The theme was “Love Out Loud,” with the parade marching past government offices, sites linked to the Taipei LGBT community, and beginning and ending in front of the Presidential Office.

PRIDE  3202 (2)

Photograph by Charles Meacham, Taipei Pride Parade, Oct 31, 2009

As a photographer, Chad has a good eye for compelling stories, especially those that resonate with his personal beliefs concerning equality.  It was less than a week later that Chad came up with the idea for the “Walk with Pride” project, 14 months of photographing and documenting gay pride parades around the globe. Gay rights, like all human rights, is a topic that we can both sincerely and enthusiastically support, and after witnessing the colorful celebration in Taipei we both realized we wanted to do something to support this movement. Some key stops on our international journey will be the pride parades held in Sydney, Tokyo, Moscow, Tel Aviv, New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Mumbai, and São Paulo, but also grass-roots festivals of pride. While imagery will often celebrate the colorful atmosphere of parades, the online documentation intends to center on the main issues and stories behind the marches. As the blogger, I (Sarah) will be working to provide information on the history of the gay movement in each country, stances on gay rights and laws, interviews with leaders and organizers, individual stories, and even comparing some of the anti-gay rights arguments.

Our aim with this project is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all sorts of pride on an international level.  While many people may be aware of regional attitudes toward homosexuality, through high-resolution photos and the joys of social media we hope to share some of the similarities and differences in gay rights and gay culture around the world. We hope you enjoy our humble efforts to take on the documentation of this complex, but very worthwhile topic in “Walk with Pride: A Year in Step with the Global Gay Community.”