Taiwan’s LGBTQ Progress Under Lai Ching-te: From Rhetoric to Action

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06/10/2024

During her eight years in office, Taiwan’s outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen endorsed marriage equality and aspired to build a Taiwan where individuals can freely express themselves and marry their loved ones, irrespective of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The legalization of same-sex marriage in 2019 highlighted her administration’s support for gender equality and LGBTQ activism, helping to bolster Taiwan’s standing as a staunch advocate of LGBTQ rights. Many Taiwanese, particularly the younger generation, see being pro-LGBTQ as a new identity marker of the democratic island. Distinctive and progressive values help Taiwan distinguish itself from the Chinese government, which has intensified crackdowns on queer people. In October 2023, then-Vice President Lai Ching-te of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) sported a rainbow-patterned scarf and participated in Taipei’s annual pride parade – East Asia’s largest gay pride event. In doing so, Lai became the most prominent Taiwanese official to attend the parade since its launch in 2003.

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