Saturday saw a huge gathering of LGBT supporters in Taiwan, as thousands of people gathered in Taipei.
The march is months ahead of elections that are fairly likely to result in a pro-gay party being voted in, and could see a result of Taiwan being the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.
The march went through the route between parliament and the headquarters of Taiwan’s two major political parties as they waved rainbow flags, shouting: “gay votes are still votes.”
One of the protestors, Rafael Tsai, had this to say: “Taiwan society has reached the point of acceptance of gay marriage. It’s a shame our politicians don’t seem to be on the same level as the people.”
And he does have a point, Taiwan is known for being one of Asia’s most gay friendly places, and even has a very vibrant social scene as well as very little overt discrimination towards LGBT people. The issue, though, is that not only is there no formal recognition of same-sex couples, many young people are still reluctant to come out to their parents.
The main author of the marriage bill in Taiwan, Mei-Nu Yu, has this to say: “There’s a huge generational split on the issue. The opponents mostly come from the older generation, who also happen to be the most heavily represented among lawmakers.”
It’s important to keep one thing in mind: While Taiwan has not yet warranted a response from the mainland, China has not ruled out use of force to bring it under control. While large Chinese cities have thriving gay cultures, the government has detained activists as a crackdown on civil society. So while Taiwan themselves are very progressive, fear of action from China might unfortunately see same-sex marriage remain unrecognised.