Young people across Asia pushed for change in 2019. Meet five of them

Left to right: Young activists Jihye Yang, Weng Yu Ching, Ridhima Pandey, Ye Wai Phyo Aung, and Jocelyn Chau.

(CNN)2019 was the year of youth activism. Around the world, students and young adults took matters into their own hands, fighting for social issues like gender equality and climate action.

Some movements in Asia saw significant leaps forward, like the legalization of gay marriage in Taiwan. In other places like Hong Kong, now in its sixth month of pro-democracy protests, the struggle has no clear end in sight.
    One theme connects these seemingly disparate issues across all countries. Young people are standing up and demanding change because it's their future at stake. They are the ones who will live to see the consequences of action taken now.
    Here are five young leaders driving change in Asia.

    The fight for marriage equality in Taiwan

    Weng Yu Ching, 24, has been campaigning for LGBT rights in Taiwan since she was a teenager.
    Weng Yu Ching, 24, remembers the moment Taiwan legalized gay marriage. She was in Taipei on a May afternoon, along with thousands of other LGBT activists draped in rainbow flags as they awaited the announcement.
    When it finally came, the crowds erupted in cheers. People cried openly. Weng, too, was "very happy and very emotional."
    "I felt very fulfilled," she said. "I felt like, wow, we did something really great."
    It had been a long road to that point -- both for Weng, who works at non-profit organization Taiwan Marriage Equality Coalition, and for Taiwan, which is now the first and only place in Asia to legalize gay marriage.
    People celebrate after Taiwan's Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage on May 17, 2019 in Taipei.
    Weng has been fighting for LGBT rights since she was 17, when she saw a pride parade for the first time in her home city of Kaohsiung. Interest piqued, she made friends in the LGBT community and worked at an LGBT support hotline, chatting with closeted people who often "fear rejection due to their sexuality."
    In 2017, Taiwan's courts ruled that the existing marriage laws were unconstitutional and ordered parliament to amend or enact new laws by 2019 -- sparking an acrimonious nationwide debate about LGBT rights.