Taiwan News
Activists Denounce Sex Education Critics
Teachers should retain the freedom to include outside reference materials in sex education classes, including discussion of homosexuality, advocates said yesterday at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

More than a dozen members of the Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association, the Awakening Foundation and other groups said that objections raised by parents’ groups to outside material are often based on groundless rumors.

Criticism of the portrayal of homosexuality by same-sex marriage opponents has made the issue more prominent as the Ministry of Education continues to oversee the drafting and review of new guidelines as part of the implementation of the mandatory 12-year education system, they said.

“In schools, there are all sorts of students from different family backgrounds and they all have different needs,” Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association deputy chairwoman Chuang Shu-ching (莊淑靜) said. “We have worked hard to come up with different kinds of material teachers can use for reference and if certain parents want to use a particular means to educate their children, they should do that at home.”

Misrepresentations of some material — including the association’s sex education film Shall We Swim (青春水漾) — has led to them being banned in many schools, she said.

Controversy broke out in 2013 over screenings at elementary schools of the film, which probes adult-oriented topics, such as same-sex romantic relationships.
A public showing in Changhua County this year also drew criticism from parents’ groups.
“Teachers feel perplexed because the content that they are teaching is all within the framework of the Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法),” Chuang said, attributing the criticism to people “mud-slinging.”

“The reality is that our textbooks have not kept pace with the need for sexual education,” Awakening Foundation director of development Lin Shiou-yi (林秀怡) said, adding that discrimination against and bullying of homosexual students has become more prominent.

“If children ‘become homosexuals’ as a result of sex education, why is that something to be afraid of?” Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association director of social work Cheng Chih-wei (鄭智偉) asked, referring to a common claim made by same-sex marriage opponents.

“The hardest part about teaching about homosexuality and why many parents are opposed to it is that even when we are not discussing ‘sex’ per se when we go to schools and give lectures, students and teachers are full of curiosity,” he said.

“Gender equality education is not about teaching children how to ‘make love,’ it’s about teaching them how to love others,” Humanistic Education Foundation education center director Chen Sheng-ching (陳生慶) said. “Opponents of same-sex marriage show what a generation without this kind of education would look like: support for monolithic values and hatred of difference. Is that what we want from our children’s education?”

Source: Taipei Times

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