The Beginning: Taipei March, 2009

It all started simply enough, Sunday breakfast and newspapers. Chad (Charles) and I were having breakfast at a local outdoor diner near the apartment we share in Taipei, Taiwan. I was engrossed in the China Post, one of Taipei’s English language newspapers, when I came across a picture of some very displeased Taiwanese, some carrying giant wooden crosses while others held up signs. The article was about an anti-gay march, a preemptive strike held a week before the annual Taipei gay pride march.

Taiwanese Protester

A shirtless gay rights supporter carries a cross during a counter-protest against marching anti-gay Christian groups in Taipei. (CNA)

It just seemed so odd, while I’d been use to seeing bible-bashers in my native US seeing pictures of the 2,000 or so Christian protestors with their message of “purifying the skies of Taiwan” seemed a little out of place in a country where Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism dominate. I showed the article to Chad, and he decided to photograph the 2009 Taipei March.

The images from the parade were strong, showing the energy and pride of the 20,000 plus that attended the march, one of the largest in Asia.  The theme was “Love Out Loud,” with the parade marching past government offices, sites linked to the Taipei LGBT community, and beginning and ending in front of the Presidential Office.

PRIDE  3202 (2)

Photograph by Charles Meacham, Taipei Pride Parade, Oct 31, 2009

As a photographer, Chad has a good eye for compelling stories, especially those that resonate with his personal beliefs concerning equality.  It was less than a week later that Chad came up with the idea for the “Walk with Pride” project, 14 months of photographing and documenting gay pride parades around the globe. Gay rights, like all human rights, is a topic that we can both sincerely and enthusiastically support, and after witnessing the colorful celebration in Taipei we both realized we wanted to do something to support this movement. Some key stops on our international journey will be the pride parades held in Sydney, Tokyo, Moscow, Tel Aviv, New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Mumbai, and São Paulo, but also grass-roots festivals of pride. While imagery will often celebrate the colorful atmosphere of parades, the online documentation intends to center on the main issues and stories behind the marches. As the blogger, I (Sarah) will be working to provide information on the history of the gay movement in each country, stances on gay rights and laws, interviews with leaders and organizers, individual stories, and even comparing some of the anti-gay rights arguments.

Our aim with this project is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all sorts of pride on an international level.  While many people may be aware of regional attitudes toward homosexuality, through high-resolution photos and the joys of social media we hope to share some of the similarities and differences in gay rights and gay culture around the world. We hope you enjoy our humble efforts to take on the documentation of this complex, but very worthwhile topic in “Walk with Pride: A Year in Step with the Global Gay Community.”

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