The support group said introducing issues related to homosexuality in Taiwan's curriculum will help eliminate discrimination and bullying. (Photo/Yao Chi-ping)
Parents of gay children in Taiwan say they support a government initiative to include homosexual issues in the curriculum for elementary and junior high school students, with effect from next semester.
Accompanied by lawmakers and gay activists, the parents said at a press conference that the discussion of gay issues in class can help promote respect for diversity, eliminate gender-based discrimination and reduce the incidence of campus bullying.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced earlier this year that from September, issues concerning homosexuality will be introduced into the school curriculum at elementary and junior high school level. The policy drew mixed reactions, with conservative groups saying it was an inappropriate subject for students at that level, while others welcomed it as a step in the right direction.
"This is our only hope," said a mother surnamed Kuo, a member of a newly established association for parents with gay children called Loving Parents of LGBT children. "There is nothing wrong with them and they don't need to change," said Kuo, relating that her child was called a "pervert" in fifth grade. Kuo said that if 10% of the total population is LGBT, there are 2.3 million Taiwanese with different voices that need to be heard.
"Please don't look at us with a peculiar eye," said Kuo, "we just wanted to be treated as normal."
An anonymous survey conducted in 2000 at Taipei Municipal Jiangguo High School, a prestigious boys' high school, showed that 11.34% of 3,492 students identified as homosexual or bisexual.
Loving Parents of LGBT 同志父母愛心協會
Jiangguo High School 建國高級中學