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Taiwan celebrates sports and LGBTQ+ culture with 1st Asian Pride Games

Lively ceremony Friday opened proceedings for 5 days of sports, inclusive fun

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The Asian Pride Games opens on a bright note at Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium in Taiwan on Friday night. 

The Asian Pride Games opens on a bright note at Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium in Taiwan on Friday night.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The inaugural Asian Pride Games (台北亞洲同志運動會) got underway in Taipei Friday night (April 29) with a rainbow-colored opening ceremony and drag queens lip-syncing to the latest pop tunes at Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium.

A bright constellation of politicians and dignitaries gathered for the opening, including gay pioneer and civil activist Chi Chia-wei (祁家威), Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟), Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤), and Taipei Sports Director Li Zai-li (李再立).

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) gave an opening address in a video, saying, “Sports is one of the best forms of diplomacy” and that the Pride Games were another step forward in the promotion of gender equality.

Given that Taiwan was the first nation in Asia to legalize gay marriage in May 2019, it was a natural fit to host the first Pride Games. The event was previously known, somewhat ironically, as “The Straits Games” and was first established in Malaysia 20 years ago.

Set to run until Thursday (May 5), the Pride Games feature 12 sports, including basketball, tennis, volleyball, swimming, track, bodybuilding, dodgeball, badminton, football, billiards, softball, and e-sports. There are also “happy group” sporting events that break the traditional gender group divisions.

Hundreds of people gathered for the opening ceremony, according to AFP. The news agency estimated that 2,500 Taiwanese and 250 mostly Taiwan-based foreign athletes from up to 27 countries are set to take part in the five-day sporting extravaganza.

Taiwan celebrates sports and LGBTQ+ culture with 1st Asian Pride Games
A Games in vogue. (CNA photo)

The Pride Games is one of the few international sports events that values, above all, inclusivity and being oneself. In this case, Taiwanese athletes can compete under the name Taiwan rather than the "Chinese Taipei" used in other international competitions.

Saturday (April 30) and Sunday (May 1), the Taipei Municipal Stadium warm-up field and Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium are hosting a Rainbow Fair, with food, drinks, and fun games to “celebrate the LGBTQ+ equality spirit.” There is also a Mahjong competition at Taipei Gymnasium on Sunday, cosplay runs, an LGBTQ+ Equality Exhibition, and more.

“If you support LGBTQ+, you're welcome to join. Let's create history together!” the Pride Games wrote. See here for full details in both Chinese and English, and see below for a live stream view.