Friendliness in Times of the Pandemic: 2021 Taiwan LGBT Pride

​​(Courtesy: Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association, TWRCAA)

The 2021 Taiwan LGBT Pride will soon be held in late October this year. Due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s parade will be an online celebration to connect people from all over the world to and continues to demonstrate interest in various issues and support for one another.

Parade theme: I (LOVE) BEING OUT

One of the messages on the website this year reads, “People of all sexual orientations [CC1] have all experienced a different way of living during the last two years, which has needed them to be friendly to one another and close the distance between them.”

The theme for this year’s parade, “I (LOVE) BEING OUT,” reminds us to be friendly in our everyday lives. Since 2019, Taiwan has entered into a post-same-sex marriage era, which necessitates to let people see that the LGBT+ population are present not only during parades, but exists among them as our friends, family members, or even elders, and should be shown (nondiscriminatory)[CC2] friendliness and respect in the home, school campus, and workplace. This is the message that the organizers would like to convey in this year’s parade.

Incidentally, the advent of COVID-19 is an opportunity for the public to empathize with the LGBT+ community members regarding their everyday life and ponder on the importance of non-discriminatory friendliness in society.

Secretary-general Meico Tsai of the Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association (TWRCAA) notes that the outbreak of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in Taiwan this May has led to an atmosphere of “witch hunt” in society, in which confirmed patients in the face of disease also had to endure having their history of discreet visits being disclosed to the public and be thrown open to criticism.

Having one’s private matters laid bare to the public without consent and then be further stigmatized by the media and public opinion is a challenge that the LGBT+ population is no stranger to. But many people in the past have deemed such matters irrelevant to themselves. The outbreak this May has made people realize the hostilities lurking within society and that anyone can be subjected to such attacks; this has simultaneously underscored the importance of nondiscriminatory friendliness in society.

An online parade: new experiences under the pandemic

▲Due to outbreak concerns, this year’s programs and floats are revamped into an online format.

In compliance with the government’s COVID-19 prevention policy, this year’s LGBT Pride parade will not be held in the usual boisterous carnival fashion as organized in the past. The entire parade will instead be transformed into an online format, which will be a new mode never attempted, but will continue to feature the three main components of performance, advocacy, and public interaction.

Program segments previously presented on the main stage will continue to be the primary subjects of the live broadcast during the parade. The online programs will include the sharing of life experiences by LGBT+ persons, in-depth conversations on LGBT+ topics, and highly anticipated performances by renowned artists. According to the organizers, “We are not leaving behind any factor that has contributed to a successful party in the past!”

To keep the audience engaged and ensure their participation, the TWRCAA will host a chat room using the Clubhouse app and invite YouTubers and podcasters to participate and moderate the chat room. Although this year’s participants may not be able to meet up physically, we can nonetheless come online to watch performances and exchange their thoughts.

While there may be disappointment in having to adopt online activities, using an online format may confer advantages, such as enabling the discussion of advocacy issues in greater depth. TWRCAA director and Taiwan LGBT Pride media spokesperson Simon Tai asserts, “In the past, many groups in the previous parades could only shout out short limited content of their advocacy. However, on an online platform, the groups can comprehensively present their advocacy and cause for people to read again and again, attaining greater awareness.”

▲ Taiwan LGBT Pride chief organizer Meico Tsai with media spokesperson Simon Tai.

In short, regardless of whether participants would like to partake in the event through lively interactions or calm contemplation of issues, the organizers hope they can acquire knowledge, have fun, and derive emotional support from this year’s multifaceted[CC4] online parade.

Traversing borders and welcoming international friends[CC5]

▲ Previous parades have always successfully attracted participation by numerous international visitors (Photo Credit: Gawii Chang)

As the largest gay pride parade in East Asia, Taiwan LGBT Pride has always attracted participation by international visitors. By presently changing the parade to an online format when international travel is a challenge, the parade continues to offer international allies the opportunity to take part in the events. Through the online parade, the organizers hope to transcend language and geographical limitations and connect partners from all over the world to experience a fun parade and the vitality and warmth of the Taiwanese society.

The 19th Taiwan LGBT Pride will be held on October 30. While eager participants await the arrival of the parade’s 20th anniversary, this year the organizers request interested parties to connect with each other through the internet and by staying in their homes, have fun and learn, and look forward to the day when we all meet again.

[CC1]Limiting to simply straight and gay people could lead to concerns about excluding other sexualities. Please review my change here.

友善. [CC2]Added for clarity. Options: cordiality, goodwill. But based on the Chinese explanation of the theme statement here, it stems from “gay-friendly,” “gender-friendly” and the like; hence, I went with “(nondiscriminatory) friendliness.”

若 [CC3]用red-light district感覺會把萬華district整個當作紅燈區. Please review.

[CC4]Although [CC4]多點式 could be “multipoint,”it means too technical a phrase for such nontechnical content. Please review.

[CC5] [CC5]Option: allies, partners, attendants?

[CC6] [CC6]From last year’s official translation in the flyer.

[CC7]This sentence doesn’t sound very report-like.

Option: While eager participants await the arrival of the parade’s 20th anniversary, this year the organizers request interested parties to connect with each other through the internet and by staying in their homes, have fun and learn, and look forward to the day when we all meet again.

Also in This Issue:

Reversing Society’s Perceptions For 19 Years — The Ever-Marching Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade

In the past two decades, Taiwan’s LGBT Pride has been making a great impact on Taiwanese society.

Author : Hsien Liu

Freelance writer / Graduate student in Journalism

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