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Taiwan gays hold first gay pride parade

November 3, 2003

Photo: AFP TAIPEI — Led by a 20-metre-long rainbow flag, about 1,000 Taiwanese homosexuals held their first Gay Pride parade in Taipei Saturday More than 50 gay groups as well as a "Gay Family Members' Group" joined the parade.

With police controlling traffic, the procession moved from the February 28 Park - nicknamed the gay park - to Hsimenting, the commercial centre of Taipei.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou told the rally that the Taipei City Government has been allocating one million Taiwan dollars (30,000 U.S. dollars) to finance the Taipei Gay Carnival since 1999.

"We do this because there are 290,00 homosexuals in Taipei and we want them to be treated equally like heterosexuals," he said.

Photo: AFP "I want to tell our homosexual friends - if you live in Taipei, you won't be discriminated against," he said.

The annual Taipei Gay Carnival was launched in 1999 by the Taipei Gay and Lesbian Hotline and the Taipei City Government.

In recent years, Taiwan has shown greater acceptance of gays.

President Chen Shui-bian has said that Taiwan plans to legalize gay marriage and allow homosexuals to adopt children.

The amendment of law, expected to be passed in parliament before the year-end, will make Taiwan the first Asian country to legalize marriage between homosexuals. –Sapa-DPA

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