Thousands of people from Taiwan's gay and lesbian community marched through the streets of Taipei to demand recognition of same-sex marriage and equal rights, organizers said.
- Two lesbians display a placard reading,
- People march on the streets during the annual gay parade in Taipei
The island's seventh annual Gay Pride Parade, with an estimated turnout of 25,000, also attracted supporters from neighboring Hong Kong, Japan and South East Asian countries, they said.
Advertisement"We urge the government to better protect gay human rights including same-sex unions so we can have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples," said chief organizer Tung Chu-chu.
Rainbow flags, balloons and placards were in abundance as participants gathered in a square outside the presidential office, with dress varying from period costumes to swimming trunks.
"I hope the government will not only legalize same-sex unions but also allow us to adopt children," said Nancy Chen, who pushed a stroller to highlight her call.
But Chen admitted that "it would take a few more years" for the general public to accept the idea before the legislation process can begin.
"Even though Taiwan is becoming more open-minded towards gays, many still think that gay people can have romantic relationships but not something as serious as starting families," she said.
Taiwan's cabinet in 2003 drafted a controversial bill to legalize same-sex marriages and recognize the rights of homosexual couples to adopt children, the first in Asia to do so.
However, the law has yet to be passed and some gay groups have criticized the bill as a ploy to woo voters.
Some marchers, meanwhile, said they were here to enjoy the carnival mood and festivities.
"I think Taiwan is more liberal. The parade here is much more interesting and colorful," said John Lee from Hong Kong as he posed for pictures in a ball gown.