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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 November, 2003, 17:48 GMT
Taiwan holds its first gay parade
Gay activists on Taipei march
Taiwan's gay activists want their rights enshrined in law
Gay rights activists have marched through the Taiwanese capital Taipei, in what organisers describe as the Chinese world's first gay parade.

Nearly 500 people in fancy dress and waving rainbow-coloured flags took part in the rally, in support of government plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

The mayor of Taipei assured homosexuals that they would not suffer harassment.

Some participants marched with pushchairs to highlight their demand for the right to adopt children.

Mayor Ma Ying-jeou hailed the march as "the first such parade in Taipei, the first in Taiwan, even the first in the Chinese world".

Conservative views

"We must loudly tell each of you, gay friends, if you live in Taipei city, we will not commit any discrimination or harassment against you because of your sexual orientation," he said.

According to Taiwan's Central News Agency, many Taiwanese continue to hold very conservative views on homosexuality.

Participants said many of the island's gays were still afraid to come out, and that was why many of the marchers wore masks.

However, the Taiwanese Government is preparing legislation to legitimise gay marriage.

If the new law is passed, it will make Taiwan the first country in Asia to recognise marriages between people of the same sex.

The proposals are part of a Human Rights Basic Law which is due to be debated by Taiwanese legislators before the end of the year.

Taiwan move to allow gay unions
28 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific
China makes marriage easier
20 Aug 03  |  Asia-Pacific

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