While there’s still a ways to go, we are indeed moving closer towards a more tolerant (for a lack of better words) global society. But when it comes to travel, many people who don’t fit the traditional (as some see it) mould may have cause for concern, and take pause before visiting a place they’ve always dreamed of experiencing. While there may or may not be any danger per se, even a furrowed brow or judgmental look can make an otherwise pleasant trip take a turn for the converse. When it comes to some East Asia cities, countries, and states, the concern is unfortunately justified. But what about Taiwan? Does it have the same reputation as the People’s Republic of China or some other Asian nations? No. Taiwan (especially the hospitality industry) welcomes LGBT travelers with open arms, and today we will take a look some key elements which convey that this is the case.
3 Reasons Why You’ll Find Taiwan is Welcoming to the Traveling LGBT Community
The First and Only (so far) Asian State to Pass Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Two weeks ago (at press), lawmakers in Taiwan approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, a landmark decision which made the island the first region in all of Asia to do so. Sure, as a self-ruled state it could have done so awhile ago, but you’ve got to start somewhere. From here, the Taiwanese government has more work to do to truly eliminate all forms of sexual, gender, and intersex discrimination, but there’s some serious confidence to be found in the fact that Taiwan stepped up while the rest of the earth’s largest and most populous continent has not, and may not for quite some time.
Biggest Pride Parade in Asia
The biggest and best pride parade in all of Asia has been running in Taiwan since 2003, and takes place on the last Saturday of October each year. Travelers come from all over the continent and world to converge upon the four day celebration in Taipei with the W Hotel Taipei being a focal point for parties and festivities. The W Hotel makes a great place to stay not just during the event (if you can actually book a room) but all year long given their support for the Taiwan’s LGBT community during pride week. What about outside of Taipei? It’s like any annual celebration – the glitz and glam is in the big city, but there are absolutely pride events throughout Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung along with smaller cities of the island state. Be sure to connect to a local guide and ask for intel before your arrival. Our guides can help set you up with an itinerary.
The Data Backs Taiwan as The Most LGBT Friendly Country in Asia
The above two items are good indicators of Taiwan being LGBT friendly. However, in other places around the world where same-sex marriage is recognized and pride celebrations are far bigger than their Santa Claus parades, social stigmas in some communities within still prevail and make openly gay travelers feel not-so-welcome. Unfortunately there is nary a place in the world that can claim to be 100% bigotry-free, but Taiwan is taking steps towards that status, and social studies back this assertion.
Recent data shows that attitudes about homosexuality in Taiwan have changed significantly in Taiwan over the last two decades making significantly more progress than China, South Korea, and even Japan (which came in second). Another recent study (2018) provides insight into why the new legislation regarding same-sex marriage (as per item #1) took so long. Unlike with U.S. states where conservative opposition is so staunch that it leaves legislation to pass same-sex marriage collecting dust, it was indifference that had politicians dragging their heels in Taiwan. While some people feverishly supported same-sex marriage legislation, a significant percentage of the population remained indifferent. In a strange way that in itself is a very positive indicator.
What exactly does this translate to?
It means can hold hands and cozy up with your partner at a local cafe in Taipei without it being a big deal. And when we say “big deal”, we don’t just mean you won’t have to worry about dirty looks or snickers, but you won’t have to feel like you’re making a socio-polictial statement either. After all, a “hey, good for you two” can be just as irritating. Your PDA (if so inclined) will pretty much go unnoticed – and isn’t that what equality is really all about?
We hope everything above has provided you with peace of mind that Taiwan is a great place for LGBT travelers to visit and explore. Notice that we didn’t give you a list of LGBT nightclubs, spas, and hot spots? That’s because doing so in itself would be making an assumption about your life based on your sexual/gender orientation, when in reality it’s got nothing to do with what you want to experience as the unique person and traveler that you are. And the Loci Amica app will only help make your experiences even better! Learn more about how it works and feel free to message us on our social networks (or directly via the contacts below) if you have any questions.