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Taiwan celebrates LGBTQ Pride after adoption rights milestone

TAIPEI: Rainbow-coloured flags filled the streets of Taiwan’s capital as tens of thousands took part in Asia’s largest Pride parade on Saturday (Oct 28), months after adoption rights were extended to same-sex couples.

Taiwan is at the forefront of Asia’s burgeoning LGBTQ rights movement, being the first place in the region to legalise marriage equality in 2019.

Parliament in May passed an amendment allowing gay couples to jointly adopt children, a move hailed by activists as “another big step forward”.

Student Chang Rong-shin, 21, said she did not expect LGBTQ adoption rights would become a reality.

“I believe this is a wonderful development,” Chang told AFP.

Vice President Lai Ching-te, who is also the presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party, said at the parade that his party has “stood by your side” on the path to equal rights.

“Marriage equality is not the endpoint but the beginning of a culture of equality in Taiwan,” said Lai, who was attending the event as the DPP’s chairman for the first time.

“In the future, I will stand with all of you, firmly supporting you in being true to yourselves, making Taiwan even more beautiful.”

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The island is set to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan 13.

Saturday’s Pride Parade, the 21st iteration in Taipei, was attended by around 176,000 people, according to organisers.

Taiwan is home to a thriving LGBTQ community and Pride attendee Jason Wu, 19, said this year’s march emphasised diversity.

“I especially rode my mobility scooter out here to let everyone see people with disabilities within the LGBTQ community,” said the university student.

More than 9,600 same-sex couples have wed in Taiwan as of the end of 2022, official figures show.

Social worker Kevin Chou, from the group Taiwan LGBTQ Family Rights Advocacy, said around 10 to 20 same-sex families have begun or completed adoption procedures.

Many in the community were unaware of the expanded adoption rights and only found out due to media coverage, Chou added.

Austrian Joachim Trauner, 40, said he was “overwhelmed” by his first time attending Taipei Pride and felt the island was different from other Asian nations.

“It’s worth (showing) people in Europe how life is in Taiwan and … how you can celebrate life here,” he told AFP.

Penny Liu, a university student from Malaysia, said the event felt “fresh and novel”.

“The atmosphere is filled with freedom,” she said.

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