Information about Gay Pride in Asia
Pride Parades are a staple of LGBTI culture around the world. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the biggest events for gay and lesbian parade-goers are in Asia, the world’s largest and most populous continent. Here’s a brief overview of some of the biggest celebrations in the region.
In East Asia, event attendance has been steadily growing since the ’90s. One of the first parades in the region was the Tokyo Lesbian Gay Parade held in Japan circa 1994. Since then, parades have been held throughout the region, drawing bigger and bigger crowds. Pride 2013 in Hong Kong boasted an attendance of 5,200 and in 2010, the Taiwan Pride Parade “Out and Vote” attracted more than 30,000 people, making it the most widely attended event of its type in the history of the continent. Korea also has a host of events for LGBTI people in cities like Seoul, Daegu, Busan, and Incheon.
Gay Pride events are also prevalent in the Southeast. The first Pride Parade in Asian history was actually organized in 1994 by a Filipino Church-- the Metropolitan Community Church-- in conjunction with ProGay Philippines. Many such events have been held in the Philippines since-- attracting numbers ranging from a few hundred all the way into the thousands. The largest such event took place in 2018 at the Metro Manila Pride March and Festival, which saw an attendance of over 25,000 people. Vietnam also has its own parades, with its first, LGBT VietPride, being held in 2012. Since then, the event has grown-- attracting over 700 attendees in 2014.
Finally, in the South, there is also a Gay Pride events have become a strong tradition since 2004. That’s when some of the first parades in India were held in the cities of Dehli, Bangalore, Pondicherry, and Kolkata. These events saw a combined attendance of over 2,000 and were followed up by the 2008 Pride Parade in Mumbai and by parades in smaller cities like Nagpur, Madurai, Bhubaneshwar, and Thrissur. Parades are also held every year in Nepal, coinciding with the Gaijatra Festival. In the past, Nepalese paradegoers wore masks to avoid being identified, though this practice has thankfully declined in recent years as attitudes have become more accepting.
For the LGBTI community in Asia, Gay Pride events are a chance to get together and celebrate identity. These events have a long and storied tradition and are quickly becoming a staple of those communities on the continent.