Walk With Pride
Taiwan Pride, 2009 (all photos in this post are by Chad Meacham)

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. I want to encourage all of you to see an exhibit by Taipei-based photographer Chad Meacham. Inspired by the 2009 Taiwan Pride march, Meacham and his partner Sarah Baxter embarked on an extraordinary year-long photojournalism project that documented 15 pride events in cities throughout the world, including  Jerusalem, Moscow and Manila. The two did not just focus on the celebratory aspects of the parades. They also documented the sickening — and often violent — homophobia encountered by marchers.

I profiled the Walk With Pride project for the Taipei Times last October. See the Walk With Pride Web site for information about their ongoing photo exhibit, which is currently taking place at locations throughout the world. In Taipei City, it is at Gingin bookstore’s h*ours cafe in Gongguan and the Banciao Train Station.

Taipei City has thriving gay scene and is home to the biggest pride parade in Asia. But homophobia still runs rampant and it impacts nearly aspect of life for gay individuals, from family relations to public policy.

Walk With Pride
WWP05Homophobia rears its ugly head at the Warsaw and Zagreb pride parades

I often hear people casually make homophobic remarks or jokes — even people with close gay friends or who aren’t particularly opposed to things like gay marriage. A proposed curriculum that would explain different sexual orientations to students in an effort to decrease homophobia generated a lot of controversy, though bullying of gay students is a big problem and has had tragic consequences.

I am a passionate supporter of gay rights. Nobody should have to suffer abuse (or worse), be unable to take care of their health or lose the ability to protect their partner and family just because of their sexual orientation.