About the march, I want to say...] Wang An-I: The 10th Taiwan LGBT March: 365 days of living proudly, seeing each other on this day

Author: Anny Wong (Editor-in-Chief of LEZS Magazine / Organizer of Women's National Party) 5 October 2012

Introduction: Can't wait! The closer this day comes every year, the more excited I feel. The 10th Taiwan Gay and Lesbian March is the eighth time I've participated in it, and I've had mixed feelings along the way, from walking alone, finding myself moved and lonely, and deciding that I'd like to do something for the gay and lesbian movement, to being able to write an article about the Gay and Lesbian March now.

Over the past few years, many people have been joining this revolution in different ways, and the Taiwan Gay Pride March is undoubtedly still the indicator, from a few hundred people to 50,000, it is the NO.1 in Asia! Japan, which started the march even earlier than we did, has not yet exceeded 10,000, and Korea, which has been followed by so many people, is even more unparalleled. The Taiwan Gay Pride March has gone from being an activity of a few people, to making Taiwan an indicator of openness and civilization in Asia. When we see each other on the street on 10/27 this year, no matter how different we are, and no matter what kind of posture we like to use to show ourselves, please look at each other and smile! Because all this is not easy to come by; all this is not possible without you.

I remember last year, old and new friends of the Women's National Fire Girls walked in the red line of representative love. 50,000 people took to the streets together. On this day every year, we see the passionate energy of confident gay men and the gentle strength of determined lesbians. We look forward to the true realization of gender human rights in Taiwan, and the gay pride parade will one day become a celebration of love and peace.

A big lesbian tanning session. Proud to be on fire.

While I was writing this article, a few moments from last year's march came to mind. I remembered that when I was running in front of the line with the flag and rushing to report for duty, I suddenly turned back and saw my companions walking with me, and my mind suddenly rewound to the first time I took part in the LGBT march in 2005. At that time, I was by myself, not belonging to any organization. Along the way, I met a few friends whom I usually met only at T-Bar, and suddenly felt that it was great to see each other under the sunlight! At that time, I already knew a lot of people in the community, but I always felt that it was not easy to make true friends in the community, and that all the drinking and merry-making at the T-Bar was not real when I woke up, but that day changed my mind: I saw that a lot of people were willing to stand up for gay people, and that they were pursuing their own happiness as well as everyone else's happiness. That night, after watching the performance in front of the Presidential Palace, I suddenly felt so lonely when the crowd dispersed, and I made a promise to do something for the queer community, so that there would be a richer face of lesbianism in the parade.

In the next few years, I worked towards my goal, never missing a march, no matter if it was in the rain or sunshine. Walking in uniform, flying flags, or taking the stage with a float, I always hoped to show the energy and passion of lesbians, and if I could get the attention of the media, then that would be even better! I don't want to hear the words, "Are there not many lesbians participating in the parade?" or to read about the sexy gay men and colorful drag queens in the newspaper. It always feels like the one day out of 365 that gays and lesbians can make themselves known to the public, the beauty of lesbians always passes by like a breeze.

Over the past six years, we have observed that more and more lesbians have come to participate in the event. Though they are still a bit behind the male counterparts in terms of dressing up and presenting themselves, the girls are indeed becoming braver and braver: those who stood up on the floats to make speeches, those who wore a corset and held up a banner saying "I decide what I want for my flat chest", and those who were dressed up as brides and grooms and ran along the streets dragging a white veil; the nightclubs, parties, and stores of different kinds of lesbians are also working hard like ants to send out their DMs for the day, and the arts and literature, sports and fashion, and students all came out for a common goal and were separated from one another. On this day, all kinds of lesbians from different factions came out for a common goal, regardless of whether they were in the same boat or not. Throughout the march, we saw many important participants, conveners, and hosts, all of whom were lesbians.

The most impressive thing is that the year before last, I stood on the float of the Pink Brigade Women's National Parade, and looked at the men, women, and children passing by on the parade line from different angles, and the eye contact between each other was a kind of silent language, which became the most shocking confession in each other's heart in the clamor of the parade line. Maybe, the people on the side of the road who grabbed the camera and pressed the shutter release were only attracted by our strange costumes; mothers holding their children struggled whether to wave their little hands; but at this moment, we will proudly show ourselves, and communicate with most people: I am no different from you, the same desire for love and happiness, we are so real!

We are no longer sad and have the ability to infect the world with our keen sense of beauty and vision, which you enjoy together! 

Last year, I decided to wear a simple red T-shirt and jeans for the parade. The number of fellow participants was still the largest, and I was honored to have signed up for the red team. In the middle of the march, the leader's car stopped, and the convener said, "Anyone from the lesbian team want to come up and say a few words? Let's get to know you better." After half a day, no one came up to the stage, but I was so shy that I couldn't stand the call of my friends and rushed up to the car. I was so breathless that I grabbed the microphone and realized that this was a completely different feeling from talking to everyone on the stage of the party. There were tens of thousands of people behind the line, and the sky was boundless when I looked up. I didn't prepare any lines, so I simply said, "I'm very happy to have tens of thousands of people marching together, and I hope that more lesbians and gays will be brave enough to join the line, rather than just passing by. In those few seconds, I realized that I was no longer myself, but had to speak out on behalf of more people. The march inspired people to be courageous, to shed their defenses and prejudices because of a common goal.

The 10th Gay and Lesbian March coincides with the October issue of LEZS07, and the theme of this issue is "Autumn Equinox, Exodus." Two major events in the gay and lesbian community took place around the Autumn Equinox: the first lesbian and lesbian Buddhist wedding held in Taiwan in August, and the march, and the two major events had subtle traction. With the blessings of Venerable Master Shih Chiu-Huei and more than 200 friends and relatives, they exchanged Buddha beads and stamped their seals, deciding to hold hands and spend their lives together. From that moment on, they were ready to take on a greater challenge, to fight for the rights and happiness they deserve in a society that is still dominated by the hegemony of heterosexuality; and it was a joy to see that, after 20 years of efforts in Taiwan's LGBTQ affirmative action movement, there was finally a lesbian couple willing to come forward! How many lesbian couples are there who are as brave as they are, not only for themselves but also for the future of many others?

Let's predict how many lesbians will go from spectators to marchers in the 10th Taiwan Gay Pride Parade! You know what? One person can also join the march! The theme of this year's campaign, "Revolutionary Marriage - Equal Rights in Marriage, Diversity in Partners," is undoubtedly an expansion of the LGBT community, calling for support for pluralistic families and the idea that love is enough. In fact, most of people's destinies in life are arranged, and if they don't even have the right to freely choose who they want to spend the rest of their lives with, or if they have to be discriminated against, then what's the point? So whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, or transgender, as long as you are in favor of love, let's come to this year's Gay Pride Parade.


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