Volunteers have raised more than $12,000 in two weeks to pay for a float representing Taiwan in this year’s New York City Pride March on Sunday.
The effort through crowdfunding platform GoFundMe follows an historic ruling from Taiwan’s Constitutional Court in late May in favor of same-sex marriage, a first for Asia. Taiwanese Americans made their own float for the 2016 parade and raised money for this year’s so they can have an even bigger one, according to their GoFundMe page.
“We finally get to let people know that Taiwan has the biggest pride and we welcome people to come join and to see,” Chuang Cheng-huai, owner of NEON by Cheng, a fashion boutique in Manhattan, told NBC News.
Some of the money will also go toward footing the bill to bring longtime gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei over from Taiwan to attend. For decades, Chi has led the gay rights movement on the island nation of 23 million, off the coast of China.
He was also one of the petitioners who prompted Taiwan’s court to review language in the constitution that barred same-sex marriage. The court ruled in late May that those provisions violate guarantees of freedom of marriage and the right to equality.
This is not the first year Taiwanese Americans have participated in New York City’s Pride March, which grew out of the June 1969 Stonewall Riots when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a fixture in New York City’s underground gay scene, fought back against police who raided the bar.
Chuang said he and others raised money for a float in last year’s event, a last-minute effort that ended with them renting a truck and decorating it a day before. But this year Chuang said they took in enough funds to secure a float that is “higher quality, nicer detail, and probably will get more attention from people.”
Borcheng Hsu, one of the volunteers who spearheaded the fundraiser, told NBC News that as of Thursday night, workers were still assembling the float. He did say the theme will likely be wedding-related, a nod to the Taiwan court’s same-sex marriage ruling.
As of Friday, they had netted $12,688 dollars, surpassing their goal of $11,000.
Chuang said he expects at least 50 Taiwanese Americans, including members of the LGBTQ community, to participate on Sunday. He added that he believes attitudes have shifted in his native Taiwan, which Chuang left 10 years ago to move to the United States.
“We are more open-minded, we are more [accepting] of the gay community than any other country in Asia,” Chuang said. “That’s very important. And hopefully we inspire other countries to do the same in the future, like Japan or Korea.”