About the march, I would like to say...] Woo-sang Hsu: Everyone is a phoenix when they are on the rainbow

Author: Xu Yousheng 23 September 2012

In the summer of 1989, I traveled to New York City to study and participated in the Gay Pride Parade for the first time. As a gay man, my first experience of the Rainbow Parade was in the hottest and most diverse metropolis of New York City. It was like a child entering a giant candy house, surrounded by a mountain of colorful candies and snacks, and overwhelmed with joy.

Later, when I moved to San Francisco to study for my doctoral degree, I participated in the Gay Pride Parade in this glorious city of gay tradition. The city was ecstatic to see the handsome mayor sitting on the hood of a Cadillac, wearing sunglasses and looking sexy, like a movie star.

At that time, I always thought that no matter how gorgeous and joyful the gay parade was in other people's land, it was after all a "family reunion comedy" for other people, and I was an outsider, so I couldn't help but feel sad and wondered when Taiwan could have its own parade.

At that time, I saw that Tokyo, Japan had just held a gay parade, but it seemed that the number of people was not large, and the pictures were not exciting enough. I thought to myself, "Japan's gay people are already very daring, but there were only two or three kittens in the parade, so if Taiwan ever organizes a parade, what kind of a cold scene will it be?

I'm glad I was wrong about the first Taipei Gay Pride Parade in 2003, but I was in Taiwan at the right time. I remember everyone gathered at 228 Park first, and I didn't follow any particular group. Looking around, I couldn't help but worry about how many beautiful boys and girls would show up for this first march.

I was totally surprised that there were thousands of them. Instead of the scattered pigeons I had imagined, there was a whole team of geese traveling thousands of miles. Walking along the familiar wide streets of Taipei for the first time as a gay man, I was overwhelmed with so many feelings under the beautiful sunlight. When I was young, I thought being gay was like a life in hell with no future. How could I have known that one day I would be surrounded by pairs of young boys and girls holding hands in love and being blessed by the sunshine?

In the past, when I walked along these streets, did I not complain a lot? I always felt lonely and alone, and had to force myself to look for companions in the place called New Park, and when I left it, I went back to the world of hypocrisy. But at this moment, I am walking on the main road, with my head held high and my eyes looking around, how can I feel any shame? What was the feeling of being a rat in the street? We became a team of gigglers and glitterati, turning everyone's imagination upside down.

The first time we went out, we created beautiful fruits, and every year since then, we have grown with amazing numbers. Last year, the Gay Pride Parade already reached 50,000 people, and there were gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from all over the world, especially from Hong Kong, China, who hung Taipei's bright rainbow on the Pacific Ocean, which was called the largest gay parade in Asia.

This year, another initiative was launched to start the Rainbow Parade around the island in a province-wide relay, which took place all over the place. I was invited to speak at the University of Berkeley about my wedding to Gerry in 1996, and next time I'm going to be proud to go on stage to talk about the great event of the Taiwan Gay Pride Parade.

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