Supporters, opponents debate gay, lesbian education referendum

Taipei, Supporters and opponents of the exclusion of gay and lesbian education from the national curriculum debated sexual orientation at a forum Thursday ahead of a Nov. 24 referendum on the issue.

Yang Chun-tzu (???), executive director of the National Alliance of Presidents of Parents Associations (NAPPA) and a supporter of the referendum, debated Chen Ming-yen (???), managing supervisor of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), at an event organized by the Central Election Commission (CEC).

The referendum will ask voters if they agree that gay and lesbian education as defined in the "Gender Equity Education Act" should not be taught in elementary and junior high schools.

Yang said that elementary and junior high school students should not learn about homosexuality as it could influence their sexual orientation, with puberty a period of great instability.

Citing multiple examples of people changing their sexual orientation, Yang said that children's growth and family background greatly influence their gender identities, so what they need is proper guidance based on their individual situations rather than a generalized version of gender equity education.

For his part, Cheng suggested that sexual orientation can neither be guided nor selected, adding that gay and lesbian education enhances students' gender equity awareness and teaches students to respect different gender identities.

"Knowledge of differences is the basis for respect," Cheng affirmed, pointing out that the most recent course outline for gender equity education takes the age of students into consideration.

Political and religious views should not be considered when deciding what children learn, he added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel