Huge crowd joins LGBT march in Taiwan, where COVID is at bay

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A huge and festive crowd marched in Taiwan’s capital on Saturday in an annual LGBT Pride event.

Turnout was down from last year, but organizers said it still topped 100,000 on a mostly sunny day in Taipei. Many participants did not wear protective masks, but others did, some in rainbow colors.

While many Pride events elsewhere moved online this year because of COVID-19, Taiwan has largely kept the pandemic at bay. The self-governing island of 24 million people has recorded 555 cases of the coronavirus and has not had a locally spread case in more than 200 days.

“While the rest of the world is stuck in the pandemic, we can still organize such a massive event,” said Zoe Tsao, who works in digital marketing.” This, I think, is great and very precious.”

International travel restrictions did reduce the number of participants coming from abroad this year.

Taiwan became the first and only place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage last year. Two lesbian couples tied the knot in a mass wedding held by Taiwan’s military on Friday. The mass wedding with 188 couples was the first time same-sex couples have been wed and celebrated at a military ceremony.

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