An estimated 100,000 people have rallied for LGBTIQ equality in Taiwan as the country prepares for a series of referendums on same-sex marriage in the country.
Last year, Taiwan’s top court ruled that banning same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional – a historic first for Asia – and instructed authorities to enact laws legalising marriage equality within two years.
But now the country is facing a national public vote on the issue this weekend, with Taiwanese voters to be asked a series of questions including one to vote in favour of marriage equality and one to vote against, to “restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman.”
Politicians and musicians alike addressed the 100,000-strong pro-equality rally, held near the presidential palace in Taipei City on Sunday and organised by the Taiwan Gender Equality Education Coalition.
“We hope to protect every family and ensure they are respected equally,” the group told the Taipei Times,
The rally was planned with the goals of promoting LGBTIQ rights and “using music to help heal all the pain caused by the increased political polarization and misinformation spread by conservative groups.”
Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association president Hsu Chih-yun told the publication that the conservatives groups claim to be advocating “love for families” but really promote “discrimination against homosexuality”.
“They have been spreading lies that attack homosexuality and distort gender equality education everywhere. They just want homosexual people to disappear and so many have been hurt in this process,” Hsu said.
‘Inclusion makes society stronger’
In September, Australia’s “yes” campaign group Australian Marriage Equality crowdfunded $10,000 to donate to Taiwan’s supporters to help them win the public vote.
Earlier this month, 27 Taiwanese and multinational companies operating in the country – including Airbnb, Ernst & Young (EY), Google, HP, IBM and Microsoft – released a joint statement backing backing marriage equality and diversity efforts.
“Diversity, inclusion, respect, equality and non-discrimination are values that we cherish and seek to uphold in our companies and in our business dealings,” the companies said.
“We do this not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes our companies and our society stronger and more successful.”
(Pictured: Taiwan Pride Festival in October 2018, photo by Rod Stringer)