When it comes to the issue of LGBT, Taiwan is always the leader among Asian countries and is also the first country to legalize gay marriage in Asia. While visiting Taipei, if you want to learn more about LGBT issues or find significant sites where LGBT history can be traced back, you won’t go wrong to explore the attractions below.
228 Peace Park - The Rainbow Gate
Among the innumerable parks in Taipei, 228 Peace Park is the one that belongs to the LGBTQs. According to Wikipedia, 228 Peace Park, former "New Park", was once a major meeting site for gays in Taipei, and was so popular that it got the nickname "company" (they showed up regularly as if clocking in at work each day). In early days, information and communication were not as advanced as those of today and the awareness of gender diversity was not widely accepted. The Park was the space where some gays found a sense of belonging and developed their gender identities. The story and the scene of the famous author Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai 's literary classic "Crystal Boys" was based on the gay group in this Park.
In 2016, the Park was formally designated as a "Rainbow Landscape" to promote gender equality. Its grey iron gate was repainted in the six colors of the rainbow flag to celebrate LGBT’s equal rights and remind us about the LGBT history of this place. This meaningful contribution was made by many organizations and government agencies, including the Taipei City Government Parks Office, the Cultural Affairs Bureau, the Tourism and Communication Bureau, the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ) Hotline Association, and the Taiwan Companion Rights Promotion Alliance.
The Changde Street Incident on July 30, 1997 is a significant incident in the LGBT history of Taiwan. A group of gay males were treated unfairly by the police at a temporary check point in Changde Street. Their identity documents were confiscated and they were forcibly brought to the police station. The police wanted to make Changde Street a place where no gays would be willing to go. Afterwards, the incident sparked discussions on the issue of gay spaces and thus aroused public awareness of gender inequity. Today, people still remember that it is a street with a hidden space that once belonged to gays and a place free from heterosexual hegemony.
Ketagalan Boulevard, Office of the President
Ketagalan Boulevard, approximately 400 meters long and 40 meters wide, ends at the Office of the President, built in 1919. Ketagalan Boulevard and the Presidential Office Building have witnessed many changes in the history of resistance.
The LGBT pride parades which are held on the last Saturday of October every year cover almost the same route, but Ketagalan Boulevard is usually its meeting point and the meeting point for most activities. In 2018 LGBT Pride, it was hoped that the two referenda "the protection of same-sex marital rights with marriage as defined in the Civil Code" and "gender equality education" can be successfully passed in 2018 Taiwanese referendum. Even if the results are far from perfect, Ketagalan Boulevard has seen LGBT power and will continue to witness people’s pursuit of gender equality.
Gingin Store may be familiar to people supporting LGBT rights. Established on the first day of 1999, it has long been participating in Taiwan pride parades and fighting for the rights of gays and lesbians, making it an important representative symbol for Taiwan pride movements.
Situated in a quiet lane behind Taipower Building, besides playing the role of a bookstore, Gingin Store is also a culture shop with exhibitions, arts and cultural activities and various types of products. As a safe, positive and warm LGBT space, it is a spiritual symbol within the LGBTQ community.
The Red House
Situated in the lively Ximending, the Red House is a popular and unmissable attraction to all travelers. In 1908, when Taiwan was ruled by Japan, the Red House, aka the Octagon Building, was constructed by Kondo Shiro, a Japanese architect. As a well-preserved third-class historic site, it is also the first government-operated public marketplace in Taiwan. The "Bagua shape" of the octagonal building at the entrance embodies the meaning of the eight directions, and the characteristic Cruciform Building with the "cross shape" is the main construction. Together with the adjacent south and north squares, they are called “the Red House.”
Nowadays, the Red House is the best place to experience cultural creative industries, fashion industries and all kinds of performances. In addition, its cultural creative industries market on weekends also attracts people who love the hipster stuff.
By the way, there are a number of gay bars near the Red House with outdoor areas open to the public. LGBTs and LGBT-friendly people will come here to drink and celebrate the LGBT culture together.
Reminder: If you need information about food, drink and fun activities near the Red House, the Red House Visitor Center is at your service. Warm and professional travel service staffs are willing to offer detailed travel information and suggestions.
National Taiwan University
Renowned for its long history and expansive campus, National Taiwan University is more than a university. Travelers are attracted by the famous campus attractions. Among them, the 400-meter long Royal Palm Boulevard is the most representative one. At the end of the Boulevard stands the main library, a place many tourists like to visit. If you are lucky enough, you can see couples taking wedding photos there. Besides the two most well-known attractions, Drunken Moon Lake, Fu Bell and NTU Ranch are also worth visiting.
National Taiwan University, Taiwan’s top university, has active gay and lesbian societies, including the lesbian society, NTU LAMBDA ((aka λ, which is pronounced as Lambda), established in November 1994. In 1995, it officially became the first “legal” lesbian student society in Taiwan’s universities.
To promote Gender Equality and LGBT Rights, clubs like NTU Lambda, NTU Student Gender Workshop, NTU Feminism Club, NTU BDSM Club and NTU Gay Chat have also held LGBTQ pride parades in school.
Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei
Completed in 1921, the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei was originally the Jiancheng Elementary School during the Japanese Colonial Period. It then became the office building of Taipei City Government after WWII. In 2001, the building was renovated and transformed into the only “contemporary art museum” in Taiwan; it is now regarded as a new landmark on the Taipei cultural map.
In 2017, the Judicial Yuan released the ruling, entitled Interpretation No. 748, announcing that the current Civil Code is unconstitutional. That is, the same-sex marriage was no longer prohibited. In the same year, as an official art museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei also held relevant exhibitions named "Spectrosythesis- Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now." The US media, CNN, reported it and made it the headline on CNN’s home page.
The LGBT exhibition in the official museum means that the government has taken a positive attitude towards LGBT Rights. The Judicial Yuan in Taiwan released the interpretation No. 748, announcing that the current Civil Code which prohibits gay marriage is unconstitutional. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei said that it is an exhibition of epoch-making historical significance for reflecting the trend in 2017.
Taipei City Hall, where Taipei City Government is situated, is one of the landmarks of the Xinyi District, which is located at the end of Ren'ai Road. Viewing Taipei City Government from the top of Taipei 101, you can see the whole building is in the shape of a "double ten” and the Discovery Center of Taipei inside Taipei City Hall has a generous amount of displays and provides guided tours. It is the first stop for many foreign visitors to start knowing Taipei.
In 2016, in response to submissions by the councilors of the Taipei City Council, on the 29th of October, on the morning of the day of the 14th Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade, Taipei City Hall flew the rainbow flag alongside the national flag for the first time. This was a joint act of the Taipei City Government and the City Council to express their "respect for diversity" and contribution to the push for amendments to the same-sex marriage right at that time.
On the 17th of May 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Taipei City, thanks to the efforts of various organizations, set up rainbow landscaping, the "Rainbow Six", at exit No.6 of Ximen MRT Station on the 25th of September, symbolizing Taipei City's respect for human rights and its active efforts in promoting sex equality and gender friendliness. This new rainbow landscape also became a popular tourist check-in attraction of Taipei City.
Rainbow Starting line
Taipei City’s second sparkling rainbow landscape “Rainbow Starting Line” was created in the eastern district in September 2020! It is located in front of Taipei City Hall Square.
Here, the rainbow landscape stretches towards the City Council from the City Government, resembling a line aptly drawn in the form of a runway, stretching to the starting point of happiness. It not only conveys the true original spirit of gender equality advocated by Taipei City, but further echoes the Taiwan Pride Parade launched from the City Government every year. The rainbow landscape combines expectations and everyone’s enthusiasm, encouraging us to take firm steps and steadily make headway along the road of happiness.
LGBT friendly spaces
There are a lot of LGBT friendly spaces in Taipei City. The Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ) Hotline Association, which is dedicated to achieving LGBT equality and a voice for LGBT people, has compiled the list of stores into several categories such as LGBT friendly, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. The list includes coffee shops, hot pot restaurants, bookstores and shops of related supplies.
For Details, see:
Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotlin Association
For more information about the LGBT friendly shops and maps, please check the website of the Taipei friendly stores
Taiwan LGBT Pride
Taiwan Pride is the annual LGBT pride held in Taipei City since 2003. It is held on the last Saturday of October each year. Currently it is the largest gay pride event in Asia which attracts participants from all over Taiwan, social activists and LGBT groups in neighboring countries. Their main goal is to unite the masses and build a pluralistic, inclusive and respectful society in Taiwan.
Highlights of the 2018 Taiwan LGBT Pride
Rainbow flag of the 2018 Taiwan LGBT Pride
Highlights of the LGBT Pride near Taipei Station
Participants on the pedestrian bridge waved rainbow flags.
The contingent of 2018 Taiwan LGBT Pride paraders on Hengyang Road
The contingent of 2018 Taiwan LGBT Pride paraders on Guanqian Rd
Image sources: Organizer of 2019 Taiwan LGBT Pride
History of LGBT Civil Rights in Taipei
The first LGBT Civil Rights event
The Department of Civil Affairs hosted a presentation of LGBT affairs
- The Establishment of the Office for Gender Equality
- Editing the all gender-friendly household administration work manual
6th, ~7th, Mar. 2015
The first Gender Issue Public Forum, to implement the protection of rights for LGBT
17th , Jun. ,2015
The household registration authority allows registration notes regarding partners of the same sex.
20th , Aug. ,2015
Taipei City Government files a petition for constitutional interpretation regarding same-sex marriage.
24th , Oct.,2015
Collective weddings allow partners of the same sex to participate.
Employees of the Taipei City Government who register a partner of the same sex may take home care leaves and funeral leaves based on the registration
Editing the new edition of “All Gender-Friendly Medical Manual”
26th , Dec.,2016
Issuing certification for same sex partners
Social housing applications include same sex partners.
24th , May.,2017
The Taiwanese Constitutional Court issued J.Y. Interpretation No.748 in response to the petition filed by the Taipei City Government and Dayway Chief.
Stipulated “Guiding principles for toilet facilities implementing gender-neutral design in agencies under the jurisdiction of the Taipei City Government”
17th , May.,2019
The Legislative Yuan passed the “Act for Implementation of J.Y. Interpretation No.748.”
24th , May.,2019
Partners of the same sex can be registered as being married at the household registration authorities.
J.Y. Interpretation No.748 advanced
Taipei’s LGBT Civil Rights!
LGBT Consultation Area
From household administration, family roles, social welfare, education, medical care, the workplace, housing, space, etc., all the topics of immediate concern to the lives of LGBT are all covered, and an LGBT consultation line is set up: 1999 extension 2524.
Taipei City Government held an outdoor wedding party at Xinyi Plaza on the 24th of May 2019, the day the special law regarding same-sex marriage came into effect.
Raise awareness and sensitivity
to LGBT and sexual minorities
Raise awareness and sensitivity to LGBT and sexual minorities for front line personnel such as social workers, the police, medical and health care workers, household administration personnel and district office officials, to avoid direct or indirect discrimination in the course of their services due to being unfamiliar with the relevant laws or not understanding the life experience of LGBT and sexual minorities.
“Travel by Rainbow” web page debuts on “Travel Taipei” for the first time.