Words by Seb Morgan
We’re just days away from the return of East Asia’s biggest pride event, and this year it’s hit drinking age. That’s right: Taiwan Pride is back in Taipei on October 31 for it’s 18th edition, just a year after the country became the first in Asia to legalize same sex marriage.
This time around, it’s all about busting binaries and celebrating gender diversity under the empowering theme “Beauty, My Own Way.” This year, the parade will be following two routes out of Taipei City Hall. Both leave at 2pm, looping around Taipei’s East District before they finish back at City Hall for a massive concert featuring Golden Melody Award winner Deserts Chang.
While the COVID-19 pandemic might prevent this year’s main parade numbers from topping last year’s 200,000-person milestone, the weekend surrounding Pride is still set to be a three-day extravaganza of performances, parties, and kiki balls. Strap on your sturdiest pair of dancing shoes, because we’ve done you a sickening solid and picked out a handful of our favorite Taiwan Pride events for 2020.
1. Taiwan Trans March
Returning for its second year, Taiwan’s original trans visibility parade gives center stage to this marginalized subpopulation of the queer community. As in 2019, it’ll take place from 7pm in Ximen district. With the theme “Trans with Us” participants are encouraged to come wearing blue, white, or pink T-shirts, which represent the colors of the trans pride flag. (Read also: Taipei is a Haven For Same-Sex Couples, But What about Trans Visibility?)
Afterward, hit up the afterparty at Locker Room, for an evening of kikis, cocktails, and gogo boys showering on stage. Discounted entrance (NT$200) for anyone who shows up with a trans pride flag, bag pin, or hand fan — you can pick up the latter at the Trans March.
2. Drag Kiki Ball – PRIDE Edition @ Resurrected
Spearheaded by Bouncy Babs, queen mother of the Taipei drag community and organizer of kiki collective Taipei is Burning, Drag Kiki Ball brings the undefined, ungendered glamor of the ballroom scene from New York to Taipei — check the video below if you need a quick schooling on what kiki ballroom is.
“The whole point of our Drag Ball is to dethrone the serious, and to have fun doing it,” explains Boundy. Anyone can take part in the event, regardless of whether they have a background in dance. The categories — individual themed competitions within a kiki ball — kick off at 12.30am and run until late. (Read more: Here’s the Tea on Taipei’s Sickening Drag Scene)
This year’s kiki ball will be held at the Resurrected Halloween Festival, an all-night outdoor event on Tiger Mountain. Sex Siren and Bizarre will definately be two of the costume categories on the cards, so dress to distress and prepare to get weird. Who knows, you might just snatch yourself a trophy.
3. Taiwan Pride Rainbow Festival
Tooted as Asia’s largest free queer festival, TPRF is the city’s main side event to the Taiwan Pride parade. You won’t be able to miss it at Ximen MRT Station, where there’ll be live performances, big hair, high heels, and lots of exposed pectorals from Friday through Sunday. Headed by casualwear brand Taiwanize, TPRF is also a chance to familiarize yourself with the city’s queer-led cultural and cretive businesses at the rainbow market nearby. Don’t miss TPRF’s electric Saturday evening lineup, featuring appearances from leading local queens, comedy, and a burlesque show. (Read more: A happy accident: a first experience of Taiwan Pride)
4. Formosa Pride
If gyrating in a sea of unshirted dancers is your sort of thing, you won’t want to miss Taiwan Pride’s biggest circuit party at Ximen’s Secret Garden from Friday through Sunday. Formosa Pride opens with Friday headliner Superchumbo, who’ll be blasting out his exuberant brand of dark-trending house from 9pm to 3am Then Saturday gathers momentum with its Halloween inspired main event Rainbow Horror Week, 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. If you’re still going Sunday, turn out for a double weekend finale, with a white party and WOOF, Taipei’s biggest Bear event, from 5pm to 10.30pm.
5. Taipei Rainbow Kids Parade
Welcoming revellers of all ages, the Taipei kids parade will return for a second year to celebrate the fact that family is family, no matter who its members are. This mini march will be held on Sunday 1 November from 1pm to 5pm, led by Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy. If you can’t make it, you can also catch up with them later in the month at LGBTQ+ family lunch (info in Chinese), hosted by Yuyu Art Café, in Zhongzheng’s Nanmen Market.
6. Taiwan Pride After Party at Taboo
Keeping the party going after the parade is Taipei’s premier lesbian bar. Taboo will be celebrating with discounted drink deals and feel good tunes from 5pm. until late. Find the fun at 92-90, Section 2, Jianguo North Road, Zhongshan District. (Read more: PRIDE, Healing and Taiwan’s LGBTQ Community: A Conversation with Olivia Wu)
7. Lezsmeeting Pride After Party
Celebrating it’s 16th birthday, this exuberant queer girls party is taking over the WeStar performance space, overlooking Ximen’s scramble crossing. Expect a high-spirited bash with crazily cute dancers, euphoric dance hits, and a back to back lineup of queer DJs. Doors open at 10pm, just half an hour after TPRF finishes up across the road, so you won’t miss a beat. In Lezsmeeting’s words, expect to be “liberated.”
Post Taiwan Pride
If you’re not in town this weekend, all is not lost. We’re just weeks away from Kaohsiung Pride, which will be held on Saturday November 28. Additionally, we’ve also put together a comprehensive queer map of all the Taipei spaces that will continue to be giving us life way past pride season. Approaching the new year, look out for XXX A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be bringing a fabulously dragged retelling of the Shakespeare classic to the National Theater from December 25 to 31. (Read more: Ultimate Taipei LGBT Map)