An international LGBTQ gathering in Taiwan has been cancelled after global organisers demanded the self-ruling island’s name be removed from the 2025 event.
Taiwan on Friday blamed “political considerations” for the cancellation of the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan after it said the organisers had insisted that the name “Taiwan” be removed from the title.
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Taiwan participates in global events such the Olympics Games as “Chinese Taipei”, to avoid political problems with China which views the democratically-governed island as its own territory and bristles at anything that suggests it is a separate country.
Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung had been due to host the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan event after winning the right from global LGBTQ rights group InterPride.
Organisers in Kaohsiung said InterPride had “suddenly” asked them to change the name of the event to “Kaohsiung”, removing the word “Taiwan”.
“After careful evaluation, it is believed that if the event continues, it may harm the interests of Taiwan and the Taiwan gay community. Therefore, it is decided to terminate the project before signing the contract,” the Kaohsiung organisers said.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the event would have been the first WorldPride event to be held in East Asia, and would have advanced regional diversity and equality.
“Taiwan deeply regrets that InterPride, due to political considerations, has unilaterally rejected the mutually agreed upon consensus and broken a relationship of cooperation and trust, leading to this outcome,” the ministry said.
“Not only does the decision disrespect Taiwan’s rights and diligent efforts, it also harms Asia’s vast LGBTIQ+ community and runs counter to the progressive principles espoused by InterPride.”
WorldPride’s committee said it took the decision “for the best interest of the LGBTIQ+ community in Taiwan” and that members would resign from their positions.
InterPride said later in a statement that they were “surprised to learn” the news and while they were disappointed, respected the decision.
“We were confident a compromise could have been reached with respect to the long-standing WorldPride tradition of using the host city name. We suggested using the name ‘WorldPride Kaohsiung, Taiwan’,” it added.
Taiwan is at the vanguard of a burgeoning gay rights movement. It legalised same-sex marriage in 2019, in a first for Asia, and is proud of its reputation as a bastion of LGBTQ rights and liberalism.
The island is home to a thriving LGBTQ community and a record 200,000 people attended a pride march in Taipei in 2019 to celebrate the legalisation of same-sex marriages.
While same-sex relations are not illegal in China, same-sex marriage is, and Beijing has been cracking down on depictions of LGBTQ people in the media and the community’s use of social media.
Last year, after an outcry in Taiwan, InterPride dropped a reference to the island as a “region”, wording that suggests it is not a country.