What you need to know
Jennifer Creery takes a look at some iconic LGBT community spaces in Taipei.
With its bustling gay nightlife and iconic annual pride parade, Taipei is one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in Asia. Attitudes towards queer spaces are unique, encouraging some of the most diverse and open spaces to celebrate LGBT culture. Here are some of the most prominent LGBT spots in Taipei.
GinGin Store (晶晶書庫)
As one of the first LGBT culture shops in Asia, GinGin features everything from gay literature to art exhibitions. Its charming storefront is packed with materials on LGBT culture, frequently hosting local events supported by friendly staff on hand to help. Make sure to also check out gay-friendly H*ours Café next door, serving light snacks and drinks.
Address: No. 8, Lane 210, Section 3, Luosifu Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100
Love Boat (愛之船)
Founded in 2005, Love Boat is an excellent community resource for lesbians in Taipei, selling anything from chest binders to sex toys. As an active supporter of the marriage equality movement in Taiwan, Love Boat frequently hosts LGBT events, as well as offering professional knife massages and in-house tarot card readings.
Address: No. 11, Lane 240, Section 3, Luosifu Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100
WERK! at Triangle
Aimed squarely towards men, this monthly club night hosts an array of spectacular shows, from go-go dancers to drag royalties Magnolia la Manga and Bouncy Babs. Free HIV testing is also available on site, indicated a positive change in public attitudes towards HIV stigma.
Address: No. 1, Yumen Street, Zhongshan District, Taipei City
The Red House (西門紅樓) at Ximending
The Red House is an iconic building located in Ximending, the unofficial gay district of Taipei. Surrounded by outdoor gay bars, this creative space is filled with LGBT-friendly stores ranging from gay clothing boutiques to massage parlors and hair salons. Other popular bars here include G2 Paradise, Café Dalida, and Commander Deluxe — a fetish bar. The square gets particularly busy on weekends, so make sure to get there early.
Address: No.10, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City 108
Witch House (女巫店)
Witch House is a great café for queer women that doubles as a live music venue, hosting mainly female artists. The chairs are littered with decorative bras and accompanied by a sex-positive themed menu and free board games. Make sure to check their website for the latest band listings.
Address: No.7, Lane 56, Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City 106
228 Peace Memorial Park
Established in 1908, this historic park became a symbol of LGBT life after it earned its reputation as a gay cruising area in the 60s and 70s. Although not exclusively a gay park, it hosted Taiwan’s first gay pride festival in 1997 and was the setting for Pai Hsien-Yung’s (白先勇) renowned gay novel, “Crystal Boys (孽子)”, making the park an iconic space for LGBT culture.
Following the historic court decision in May ruling the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, marriage equality in Taiwan is expected to be implemented in two years. Until then, we can be sure that no matter what your orientation is, there will always be a place for the LGBT community to enjoy themselves in Taipei.
Taiwan’s annual LGBT pride parade will be held on Oct. 28, 2017, from 14:00 to 19:00 on Ketagalan Boulevard.
Editor: David Green