Thousands of gay rights supporters marched through Taipei, months ahead of elections that are likely to usher in a pro-gay party and could make Taiwan the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. Protesters waved rainbow flags, lit candles and shouted "gay votes are still votes" as they marched between parliament and the headquarters of Taiwan's two main political parties.
Taiwan is one of Asia's most gay-friendly places, boasting a vibrant social scene and little overt discrimination. Polls show a majority in favour of gay marriage, and a recent study commissioned by the Ministry of Justice advocated legislation. There is no formal recognition of same-sex couples, however, and many young people are still reluctant to come out to their parents.
"There's a huge generational split on the issue," said Mei-Nu Yu, main author of a stalled marriage bill. Yu's Democratic Progressive Party supports gay causes more than the ruling Nationalist party, whose fortunes have been in steep decline, particularly among young people who accuse it of cozying up to China. Large Chinese cities have thriving gay cultures & there's public discussion of gay rights, but the government has detained activists in a crackdown on civil society. Read More