Taiwan participates in global organizations such as the Olympics as “Chinese Taipei” to avoid political trouble with China, which views the self-governing democratic island as its own territory and defends itself against anything that suggests it is a separate country.

The Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan was set to host WorldPride 2025 Taiwan after receiving the go-ahead from global LGBTQ rights organization InterPride.

Last year, he stopped referring to the island as a “region” after protests in Taiwan.

But Kaohsiung-based organizers said InterPride recently “suddenly” asked them to change the name of the event to “Kaohsiung”, removing the word “Taiwan”.

“After careful evaluation, it is believed that if the event continues, it may harm the interests of Taiwan and Taiwan’s gay community. Therefore, it has been decided to stop the project until the contract is signed,” Kaohsiung organizers said.

InterPride said in a statement that they were “surprised” by the news and, while they were disappointed, respected the decision.

“We were confident that a compromise could be reached regarding the long-standing WorldPride tradition of using the name of the host city. We suggested using the name “WorldPride Kaohsiung, Taiwan,” the post added.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the event will be the first WorldPride event to be held in East Asia.

“Taiwan deeply regrets that InterPride, for political reasons, unilaterally rejected the mutually agreed upon consensus and broke the relationship of cooperation and trust, which led to this result,” it said.

“The decision not only disrespects Taiwan’s rights and its diligent efforts, it also harms Asia’s vast LGBTIQ+ community and goes against the progressive principles that InterPride supports.”

Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage in 2019, the first in Asia, and prides itself on its reputation as a bastion of LGBTQ rights and liberalism.

While same-sex relationships are not illegal in China, same-sex marriage is, and the government is cracking down on media portrayals of LGBTQ people and the community’s use of social media.

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