The 19th edition of Taiwan LGBT Pride will be held online on Oct. 30, organizer Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association (TWRCAA) announced Tuesday.
In place of the event's normal parade through downtown Taipei, five interactive online "stages" -- "Main Stage," "Party Float," International Pride Issues," "Parade issues," and "Chat box" -- will be accessible through the event's website: https://event.taiwanpride.lgbt/en
The lineup for this year's event includes celebrity performances, drag queen shows, chat rooms and online shopping from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., according to organizers.
Explaining the decision to keep the event online in light of the improving COVID-19 situation, TWRCAA spokesperson Tai Yu-hsun (???) told CNA it was difficult to reverse preparations made at a time when domestic cases were still climbing.
"When we were planning for the parade earlier in the year, we were just about to undergo level 3 COVID-19 alert. So, if we made any changes now it would affect the agreements we had with our collaborators," Tai said.
Restrictions on public gatherings were introduced after the COVID-19 alert in Taiwan was raised to Level 3 on May 19 following a surge in domestic cases.
However, with daily case numbers staying largely in the single digits, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced a return to the current Level 2 on July 27.
Last year's LGBT Pride parade saw 130,000 people attend the march.
This followed on from a record-breaking 200,000 turnout in 2019 edition -- the same year Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
But TWRCAA Chairman Fletcher Hong (??) said that despite recent progress, society had not yet reached true equality for people in the LGBT community.
"We often see areas, such as shops or toilets, labeled as 'gender friendly' spaces, but the purpose of that is so people can be themselves instead of having it as a place of refuge ... We need to make being 'friendly' a part of our daily normal life," Hong said.
Another focus of the event is HIV/AIDS education, with Chiu Yi-chi (???), a director at the Persons with HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy Association of Taiwan, saying there was still a stigma attached to those infected -- despite growing evidence that those with undetectable levels of HIV can no longer transmit the virus to sexual partners.
"Sometimes positive people get turned away by dentists because the establishments may fear that they may not be able to fully disinfect their equipment [against HIV]," Chiu said, adding that long-term nursing facilities sometimes refuse to let those with HIV share rooms with other patients.
Chiu said he hoped the work by his organization would help people in Taiwan learn more about medical advancements related to HIV/AIDS, and reduce stigmatization by introducing them to the friends and families of those with the disease.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel