President of Taiwan Congratulates RuPaul’s Drag Race Winner

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Taiwan’s Nymphia Wind, pictured performing in a temple in Taipei in 2023, won RuPaul’s Drag Race on Saturday (Photo: 張好CHANGHAO)

The President of Taiwan herself has extended congratulations to Taiwan-born queen Nymphia Wind, who clinched the winner’s title in season 16 of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Saturday.

Nymphia Wind, also known as 28-year-old New York-based Leo Tsao, gained recognition for her distinctive use of the colour yellow, bananas, and Taiwanese cultural motifs in her performances.

Raised in Taiwan and Hong Kong, Wind pursued a Bachelor of Arts in fashion design and embarked on her drag career in 2018 before relocating to New York in 2022.

Celebrating Taiwanese Heritage on the Global Stage

Sporting a bubble tea-patterned coat that revealed a cluster of floating balloons, she triumphed over fellow Drag Race finalists Plane Jane and Sapphira Cristál to win the popular Emmy award-winning drag contest. This made her the first person of East Asian descent to do so, as her proud mother watched on in the audience.

In a nod to her Taiwanese roots, Wind remarked to Entertainment Weekly, “Boba tea is the national drink of Taiwan. We invented boba tea. Put that in your brain! That was my way of being camp and still representing my country and finding a fun way to do this lip-sync, because I knew I was going up against Sapphira and Plane.”

Reacting to the win, President Tsai Ing-wen took to social media to offer her well wishes and support to the drag champion.

“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’,” said Tsai.

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

LGBTIQ+ Rights in Taiwan

Taiwan is regarded as one of the most progressive countries with regard to LGBTIQ+ rights in Asia. Homosexuality is legal, and discrimination against gays and lesbians is outlawed in the areas of employment and education. It also hosts the largest Pride parade in Asia.

Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage after lawmakers passed a marriage equality bill in 2019. The bill sought to comply with a May 2017 ruling by the country’s top court, the Council of Grand Justices, which gave the government two years to change the law to recognise same-sex marriages.

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