Taiwan president congratulates Taiwanese queen for winning Drag Race

By Thomson Reuters Apr 20, 2024 | 2:25 AM

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday offered her congratulations to the Taiwanese drag queen Nymphia Wind for winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, the first person from East Asia to take the crown.

Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have championed LGBTQ+ rights making the island a bastion of liberal values, and in 2019 Taiwan legalised same sex marriage in a first for Asia.

“Congratulations to you, Nymphia Wind, for being so accomplished in the difficult art form of drag, and for being the first Taiwanese to take the stage and win on RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Tsai wrote on Instagram in English.

“Right after being crowned queen, you said ‘Taiwan, this is for you.’ Taiwan thanks you for living fearlessly,” she added.

Taiwan’s capital Taipei hosts East Asia’s largest Pride march every October. Last year, vice president Lai Ching-te, who won election as Taiwan’s next president in January, marched at Pride becoming the most senior government leader ever to attend.

Nymphia Wind was already a well-established artist on Taiwan’s thriving drag scene, often wearing over-the-top outfits inspired by bananas, and has done shows at Taiwanese temples and photo shoots at wet markets dressed as a banana.

Stars from Drag Race, which has just ended its 16th season, also come to Taiwan to perform.

Taiwan’s openness on LGBTQ+ issues stands in marked contrast with its giant neighbour China, which claims the island as its own territory.

While same sex relations are not illegal in China, same sex marriage is, and the government has been cracking down on activists and depictions of LGBTQ+ people in the media.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)