For China’s LGBTQ people, Taiwan’s rainbow victory is a moment of joy and pain

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05/23/2019

When Chinese gay rights activist Peng Yanhui heard that Taiwan had approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on May 17 as he boarded a flight, he burst into tears of joy. “I was crying so hard on the plane that flight attendants wanted to find out what had happened,” said the director of the China Rainbow Media Awards, an LGBTQ rights advocacy group. Peng wasn’t alone. The ruling provoked strong emotion among China’s LGBTQ community. On Friday, as the first same-sex weddings take place in Taiwan, that group — some of whom are just 100 kilometers away in mainland China — will be watching with mixed feelings. In one way, the moment could be a turning point for the whole of Asia, where countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia have recently become more conservative towards LGBTQ rights.

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