Taiwan’s LGBT+ community is celebrating their status as a beacon for LGBT+ rights in Asia by launching a charity bike ride.
The first Asia Rainbow Ride is possible because the country has managed to control the COVID-19 virus.
And it will form part of Pride month in October when the country will become one of the few in the world to hold a large-scale 2020 Pride event.
Six co-founders – from Taiwan, Malaysia, Shanghai, Singapore and San Francisco – have come together to create the event.
They are working with the Taiwan Equality Campaign – previously the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan – which will benefit from the money they raise.
Meanwhile they hope LGBT+ cyclists, allies, local Taiwanese, and foreign travelers will come together to make it a success.
Co-founder Jennifer Chang Dazols said:
‘My wife and I met while cycling on the AIDS Lifecycle, a charity bike ride that raises millions of dollars for HIV services in California. As a Taiwanese-American, I’m so proud to start a ride with a similar mission and community in Asia.’
Moreover co-founder Olivia Wu added: ‘I’m excited to facilitate an experience where new friends can come together to exchange ideas about equality all while enjoying the scenic beauty of Taiwan.’
Get on your bike
For this inaugural year, the ride will cover 130kms of coastline. Cyclists will ride from the popular beach destination Fulong to the capital Taipei on 24 and 25 October.
At the finishing line, riders and supporters will join together at a closing ceremony in the Ximen Red House neighborhood. That’s the heart of the LGBT+ community.
Organizers say it’s a fun ride, not a race, so cyclists of all abilities can enjoy it. You can find out more and register here.
However, by 2022, the organizers hope to extend the ride to a seven day journey taking in all 910kms of Taiwan’s coastline.
They are billing the event as ‘a safe haven for people from around the world to exchange ideas, challenge their physical and mental strength on a bike ride, and raise awareness and money for LGBT+ services in Asia’.
Last year, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to allow same-sex marriage. By contrast 20 of the 48 countries in Asia outlaw same-sex activity.
Jennifer Lu, executive director of Taiwan Equality Campaign, said:
‘As the first country in Asia legalizing the same-sex marriage, it has been a long way. We are still fighting for true equality and welcome to join Asia Rainbow Ride to show our resilience and perseverance.’
Taiwan Pride set for October
Taiwan has already hosted a small Pride event in June. The Taiwan Pride Parade for the World was to show solidarity with the over 450 cities around the world that have had to cancel or postpone their festivals.
However its main festival is due to go ahead as planned on 31 October. Taipei’s Pride usually attracts crowds of up to 140,000.
Moreover, the city doesn’t only have Asia’s biggest Pride but also has a temple to the ancient Chinese Rabbit God whose special duty is to oversee gay love and sex.