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InterPride angers Taiwanese for listing Taiwan as 'region'

Human rights organization accused of neglecting Taiwanese right to self-determination

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InterPride lists Taiwan as "region" instead of country. (Twitter, InterPride screenshot)

InterPride lists Taiwan as "region" instead of country. (Twitter, InterPride screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — News that Kaohsiung had been selected as the location for WorldPride 2025 was tempered with the fact that the organizer, human rights group InterPride, downgraded the country's status to "region," a term used by China to describe the democratic nation.

On Sunday (Nov. 14), InterPride announced that the "region of Taiwan" had won its bid to host the 2025 edition of WorldPride in the southern city of Kaohsiung. The city beat out a rival bid by Washington, D.C., and will be the first in East Asia to host the event.

The decision to select Kaohsiung was made over the course of four days during the 2021 General Meeting & World Conference, which started on Nov. 6. Due to the pandemic, the conference, bidding, and voting process took place virtually, with over 300 member organizations participating.

In response to the organization's selection, Darien Chen (陳宏昌), the official spokesperson for Kaohsiung Pride, was cited by InterPride as saying, "The WorldPride Taiwan Team 2025 would like to thank all before us who lit the way, to thank InterPride who built this wonderful organization and platform and thank our supporters who have bestowed this amazing opportunity for Taiwan and Asia. This is the beginning of a 4-year journey that we plan to ignite change in Asia, to promote InterPride’s mission, and to advance human rights in the world."

InterPride Co-President Julian Sanjivan emphasized that bringing the event to East Asia for the first time will "create a significant impact to the much-needed visibility and awareness of human rights for the LGBTQIA+ community there." Sanjivan then listed "surrounding countries and territories" from which people could participate, "including China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia."

The fact that the press release started by listing Taiwan as a "region," despite Sanjivan's listing of China and Hong Kong as separate "countries and territories," added to the confusion over the organization's stance on Taiwan.

Licensed by InterPride and organized by one of its members, WorldPride is an international event that "promotes visibility and awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues on a global scale." Activities that take place during the gathering include parades, festivals, and "human rights conferences."

The fact that the organization and event espouse advocacy for human rights was not lost on Taiwanese netizens, who were upset by the group's label for their country. Many also pointed out that same-sex marriage is illegal in China, indicating both that Taiwan is a different country and that the organization should not be pandering to a repressive regime that would undoubtedly refuse to host such an event.

"Taiwan is a nation."

"Taiwan is the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in Asia. Taiwan is a country not so-called region. It's shameful and no pride at all for WorldPride if InterPride does not correct this error."

"We identify as a country (because we are) though."

"Region? Seriously? Then I'm here waiting for you to fight for the LGBTQ's right in the country 'China.'"

"InterPride using 'in the region of Taiwan' to appease a country who wouldn't consider letting them hold an event is shameless. 'We believe in human rights...but only if the CCP agrees.'"

"Taiwan is a country, do the right thing and recognize them as such. We the runner up city for World Pride 2025 didn’t lose our bid to a “region” of China. We lost to the NATION of Taiwan. #FreeTaiwan #WorldPride2025"

"To uphold PRC’s claim of “integrity of territory” not only is stupid in the case of marking Taiwan as a region rather than state, but also ignore the fact that ROC (Taiwan) legalized Same Sex marriage, not PRC."

InterPride has not yet responded to a request for comment by Taiwan News as to why it used the term "region" to describe Taiwan.