120,000 parade at Taiwan Pride celebration despite rain

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Some 120,000 paraded in the streets of Taipei as the city’s 20th annual Pride event celebrated the LGBTQ community Saturday in spite of the rainy weather.

The Taiwan Pride Parade began in 2003 with just 700 participants gathering in a park in central Taipei — most of them wearing face masks to avoid stigmatization.

Taiwan has since become the first place in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage in 2019. It’s seen as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly places in Asia.

People in raincoats carried a large Pride flag down the street as revelers in rainbow capes and elaborate makeup followed. Some waved smaller flags while others held signs or umbrellas. A group in white blew thousands of bubbles into the gray sky.

One university student described an LGBTQ-friendly environment in their senior high school.

“We were not discriminated. Everybody knew,” said 18-year-old Chen. “We did not have to worry much. We just were ourselves.”

But others still face challenges. Tommy Huang said he feels distant from his partner’s family.

“His parents haven’t fully accepted me yet. One day, I really hope I could visit his parents during Lunar New Year and get to know them, and that they could accept us the way we are,” said Huang, a 35-year-old publishing company owner.

Although Taiwan recognizes same-sex marriage for its nationals, it does not allow foreigners to have same-sex marriages legalized.

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