As far as Asian countries go, Taiwan is not very big. It is home to about 23 million people, compared to 127 million in Japan, and, you know, 1.4 billion in China. Even so, every autumn Taiwan hosts the largest gay pride parade in Asia. This year, more than 130,000 people showed up to march.
The reason such a small country hosts such a large parade is that Taiwan has become the most LGBT-friendly country in Asia. Last year, for example, its highest court declared that same-sex marriage would be legal within two years, a first in the region.
So the pride parade is not just for the Taiwanese—it attracts thousands of people from neighboring countries, where attitudes about sexuality may be less tolerant.
Quartz News went to Taipei to find out why this happened in Taiwan before anywhere else in the region. The answer lies in Taiwan’s strong history of activism, its politically demanding youth movement, and, as with any issue in the country, its relationship with the behemoth next door, China.
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