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Taiwan blames politics for canceling World Pride event

Taiwan blames politics for canceling World Pride event
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Participants march under a giant rainbow flag during the LGBT Pride Parade on October 26, 2019 in Taipei, Taiwan. REUTERS/Eason Lam

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TAIPEI, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Taiwan on Friday blamed “political considerations” for the cancellation of WorldPride 2025 Taiwan as organizers insisted on removing the word “Taiwan”.

Taiwan participates in global organizations such as the Olympics as “Chinese Taipei” to avoid political problems with China, which views the democratically-ruled island as its own territory and blocks anything that calls it a separate country.

The southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung was the host of WorldPride 2025 Taiwan after winning the right from global LGBTQ rights group InterPride.

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After an outcry in Taiwan last year, it dropped a reference to the island as a “territory,” a term that suggests it is not a country.

But Kaohsiung organizers said InterPride recently “suddenly” asked them to remove the word “Taiwan” and change the event’s name to “Kaohsiung”.

“After careful evaluation, it is believed that if the incident continues, it may harm the interests of Taiwan and the Taiwanese gay community. Therefore, it has been decided to stop the project before signing the contract,” said Kaohsiung organizers.

Interpride said in a statement that it was “surprised” to learn of the news and that it respected the decision, although it was disappointed.

“We were confident that a compromise could be reached on the longstanding WorldPride tradition of using the name of the host city. We suggested using the name ‘WorldPride Kaohsiung, Taiwan’,” it added.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the event will be the first WorldPride event to be held in East Asia.

“Taiwan deeply regrets that Interpride, due to political considerations, unilaterally rejected the mutually agreed consensus and broke the relationship of cooperation and trust, which led to this result,” it said.

“The decision not only disrespects Taiwan’s rights and diligent efforts, it also harms Asia’s large LGBTIQ+ community and runs counter to the progressive principles espoused by InterPride.”

Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage in 2019, a first for Asia, and is proud of its reputation as a bastion of LGBTQ rights and liberalism.

While same-sex relationships are not illegal in China, same-sex marriage is, and the government is cracking down on portrayals of LGBTQ people in the media and the community’s use of social media.

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Written by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry

Our values: Thomson Reuters Trust Policy.

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