Chris Stowers—Panos Pictures

Ask anyone who’s attended Taiwan Pride, and they can probably tell you about the first time they laid eyes on Chi Chia-wei, standing high above the crowds and waving a rainbow flag. That image exemplifies what he means to Taiwan’s LGBTQ+ community: a symbol of hope to the next generation, the living embodiment of the idea that it truly does get better.

He began advocating for marriage equality decades ago, at a time when civic advocacy could serve as grounds for imprisonment in Taiwan. Despite the danger, he repeatedly brought his case for equal rights to the courts, and his persistence led to the Grand Justices’ constitutional interpretation ruling that required the government to legalize same-sex marriage, which took effect in 2019.

Through the years, Chi has stood tall against immense prejudice with his larger-than-life courage. I’m confident that Chi will light the way to a future where everyone deserves to love and be loved.

Tsai is the President of Taiwan

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