Happy Pride month 2022! June marks the month where the LGBTQ+ community and allies come together all around the globe to celebrate Pride month!
Read below for an introduction to Pride, its origins as a protest, how Pride is progressing and celebrated in a number of Asian countries, and the importance of grassroots organisations already doing the work.
Why June? The 1969 Stonewall Uprising
On the 28th of June 1969, a gay club – the Stonewall Inn – located in Manhattan was raided by the New York City police where customers and employees were thrown out of the club. This led to several days of protests and violent clashes between NYC police and the LGBTQ+ community. June now marks the month for global Pride celebrations as a way to honour this huge moment in the civil rights movement.
This year in the UK marks the special 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ+ rights march in London, with the march taking place on Saturday 2 July!
Read more about the 1969 Stonewall Uprising here.
Celebrating Pride in Asia
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are 31 countries in the world where same-sex marriage has been legalised through legislation or court decisions. However, there is currently only one country throughout Asia where same-sex marriage is legal – Taiwan. In 2017, Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage (also referred to as same-sex unions), making Taiwan the first ever country in Asia to pass such a progressive bill.
Fast-forward to now, more Asian countries have stepped up to pass anti-discrimination laws that protect the LGBTQ+ community. These countries are Mongolia, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Nepal and Thailand.
“It’s heart-breaking to know that there are people out there who are scared to be who they truly are, or love who they really want to love, just because of the backlash they would receive, or the laws that they would break. However, it does restore a bit of faith to know that some governments are starting to pass bills that protect the LGBTQ+ community. One step forward is much better than none at all. I strongly wish for a future where everyone can take full pride of of who they are and are safe to do so!” – Winse Chan, Asian Leadership Collective Volunteer
Progress, but there is still work to be done
- Thailand is one step closer to legalising same-sex marriages as cabinet endorsed two out of four bills that would create a same-sex civil partnership law. Four drafts of four different bills on same-sex marriages seeking to provide same-sex partners the same legal rights as heterosexual couples were passed at first reading.
- From October, same-sex partnerships will be recognised by the Toyko Government but same-sex marriages will not be legalised.
More and more Asian governments are taking small steps to reflect the needs of a progressive society that protects the LGBTQ+ community every day, but there are still a lot of underlying issues that need to be recognised first.
Prominent issues such as:
- Illegality of homosexuality and same-sex marriages
- Discrimination and violence
These are factors that drive progression backwards and need to be driven at a community and societal level. This is why grassroots organisations are still so vital in making fundamental change and still need our support through donations, volunteering, and access to resources.
Pride in London and the East and Southeast Asian community
Whilst Pride is more widely celebrated and same-sex marriages are legal in the UK, the LGBTQ+ community still faces prejudice, violence, and hate; especially those who are from historically marginalised communities, including the East and Southeast Asian community.
We must support and amplify the people, groups, and organisations who are already doing the work for this community. Here are a number of people and organisations to follow as a part of your own learning and support for the LGBTQ+ community:
East and Southeast Asian people and organisations:
- David Kam:
- Bitten Peach: A queer Asian Collective
- ESEA Sisters: Providing spaces for ESEA women, trans, non-binary and genderqueer folk
- GGI Club: a trans led club nite for London’s queer, trans & nonbinary ESEA community