When I was told my trip to Taiwan for ILGA 2015 conference will end with a must-be-present event call Pride Parade, I was skeptical about it as I was also told the event was similar to Pink Dot and the parade ASEAN People’s Forum organized but only that this parade has gay men under dressed, nearly naked, and marching down the city (which I found fascinating). I did my research about it and the result were mostly in Mandarin thus I’m not able to read. However the photos of it was interesting! It showed many people walking in harmony with different sort of costume and dressing.
Pride Parade was held on 31 October 2015 at 1pm. So knowing it was noon (which is very early by my standards), I was not expecting major crowd of people and/or supporter. But it turned out to be the opposite of my expectation. The turnout was massive. I could see supporters and LGBT people of different age. It was surprising and it instantly boost my confidence. Luck was on our side or probably Taiwan’s weather at noon was cooling. Everyone was either dressed in rainbow and/or sexily attractive! Everyone was everywhere which looked messy but eventually when the time is set to be at the meeting point, all supporter and LGBT community were already present. The place was nicely ‘decorated’, there was rainbow flag everywhere, speakers, signs of advocacy were at every inch of the meet up point (which were I believed is an open space allocated beside a busy traffic) and I must say all efforts really paid of. Even the marching were properly coordinated as there were thousands of turnout. So me being so amazed and excited was looking around for free stuff! Yes they were giving stickers, cute condoms, wrist band and many more.
I was told the march will start at the meet up, make a big round and end at the meet up point. I was not really keen to finish the whole parade as after walking for like half an hour and it was far from midpoint. But what kept me walking was the happiness and unity atmosphere, I walk beside many people dress up as different characters (In conjunction with Halloween I supposed) like Spiderman, cartoons and even BDSM. Yes there’s even a group of tong zhi dressing up as slave and owner. I was blown away by their effort to really use this opportunity to showcase their sexuality. This is because I assume and thought that they will be conservative. I didn’t keep track of how long or far I’ve walked as I was endlessly amazed by one after another passer by. It was sad that I didn’t complete the walk, as eventually I was tired and had a flight to catch.
Pride Parade has left me good impression of the LGBT community in Taiwan. To be able to witness for myself their comfort of living, their issues and most importantly how united the community was among themselves; even the general public were also seen waving at us as we walk down the streets. Also, as Taiwan have plenty of street shops and restaurant, the diners were not mocking us but were surprised by the parade. When I left Taiwan, I was glad that I was given a chance to be part of ILGA 2015 and Pride Parade.
What differentiate Pink Dot and Pride Parade would be being able to march down the street; with the LGBT community and importantly without the fear of being discriminated, judged or arrested. It may seem ungrateful that Singapore already allows Pink Dot to happen annually without going against the law then now I am seeking allowance and acceptance to be able to march down the street. The reason why I hope for this is simply because, by letting the community to march down the street (but not to the extent of being under-dressed) this will certainly make the LGBT individual feel accepted without fear to walk and be seen in public for who they are.
It may seem contradictory–indeed if Pride Parade is legalized here in Singapore, it was supposed to be free and restrict-less, that each individual is allowed to dress as what they want or even not dress appropriately. It will be jubilant for transgender women who are always stopped and screened by the police just because of how they are dressed. But however my constraint is that by allowing them to be under-dressed, it will only welcome deeper hatred and non-acceptance from the anti LGBT community. Therefore I rather have Pride Parade allowed here in Singapore, and have each individual adhere to the dress codes. And when we have more accepting society, then only LGBT community can be dressed or under-dressed for the parade. With this there is equal sensibility for both the LGBT community and anti LGBT community.
I hope that to see a Pride Parade in Singapore; I hope to see that we are stepping closer to an accepting culture regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Sherry is the Researcher and Writer at Project X. She is a freelance expert in secret affairs and is very open to any possibilities and chances to upgrade her knowledge. She is currently working on compiling a zine that documents trans lives in Singapore.