t’s been a really rough week for Taiwan: Taichung has lost the right to host the East Asia Youth Games, US airlines have finally kowtowed to pressure from Beijing, and now the Taiwanese flag may well be banned at this year’s Gay Games.
Earlier this week, Taiwanese activists loudly condemned China for apparently pressuring the Federation of the Gay Games (FGG) to not allow the flag of Taiwan to fly at the event, which will be held next month in Paris.
In past Gay Games, Taiwanese athletes have been able to compete under the name of “Taiwan,” while flying the Republic of China flag. However, Yang Chih-chun, the president of the Taiwan Gay Sports and Gay Development Movement Association, said that the FGG recently told him that the French government had expressed its concerns over the Taiwanese flag being used at this year’s competition.
“Our logical conclusion is that China protests to the French government or otherwise this would not have happened,” Yang said.
In addition to the flag, the association is also fighting to continue to have its athletes compete under the name “Taiwan,” rather than “Chinese Taipei,” as is the practice at other international sporting events.
First held in San Francisco in 1982 as the “Gay Olympics,” the Gay Games seek to promote sexual diversity through a worldwide sporting and cultural event that features LGBT athletes and artists — though you do not have to be gay to participate. It is estimated that more than 10,000 people from over 70 countries will participate in this year’s competition, held between August 4th to 12th.
The 28-member team from Taiwan will be led by veteran gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei. Chi said that the Gay Games present a rare opportunity for Taiwanese athletes to represent “Taiwan,” since they are usually forced to compete under the “Chinese Taipei” moniker at other international events.
“We will fight till the last moment to use our national flag at the Gay Games,” Chi vowed.