Battlepanda: Pride, Taipei style


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pride, Taipei style

Usually, I think of Taipei's mayor Ma Ying-jeou as a bit of a hypocritical prettyboy. But on Sunday at the opening of Taipei's annual gay parade events, he was right on:
"Tolerance is a necessary virtue for any world-class city," Ma said. "Homosexuality is a natural phenomenon that cannot be suppressed away nor spread beyond its natural bounds. Gay rights are a part of human rights. We want Taipei to be a multifaceted city filled with love, peace and tolerance,"
The opening took place in front of the Taipei City Hall. They even raised a rainbow flag. Then a couple of city councilors joined the crowd in doing a choreographed pompom dance set to "Go West" by the Village People. With rainbow colored pompoms, natch.

It's ironic because Ma and the organizers obviously links being a more tolerant society with being a world-class city, using photographs of gay meccas around the world, including two in the United States, but at least part of what they're doing is so much more radical than what would be considered acceptable in the States. Ma is a serious contender for the 2008 presidential elections. Can you imagine his counterpart in the U.S. saying what he said in a public forum? The parade even got public financial support -- 1 million NT in city cash (about 30,000usd), though that's to be slashed in coming years.

One group in Taiwan is not happy about the festivities. Can you guess which?

(By the way, I'm not saying that Taiwan is some kind of gay paradise where there is no prejudice. Just that the society here is surprisingly liberal in this respect. Gays still can't marry, and people face lots pressure from their families in this respect)