So-called 'Rainbow Terror,' flag removed from high school graduation

Student organizers of this year’s graduation were asked to remove rainbow flag

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--- Students from Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School were asked to remove the rainbow flag which had been part of decoration for the school's graduation one day after the ceremony.

One of the student organizers wrote an article on CK Hate, a student-run Facebook page for students of the school to submit their complaints anonymously this Monday, revealing school officials' request to remove the flag.

The author of the post wrote that the school had received calls from anti-marriage-equality groups and was under huge pressure regarding to the use of the flag.

"We decided to remove the flag for now because we're no longer students of this school and we're not in the position to respond and represent the school anymore," wrote the student organizer. "We understand the pressure the school has been going through and we don't want to make things difficult for our teachers,” the organizer added. 

The graduation took place last Saturday and the student organizers decorated the event hall with five different flags, including one rainbow-colored flag. Each flag represented a specific idea: yellow for nuclear power issues, green for the environment, rainbow for the LGBTQ community, blue for both the students' hopes and the experience of feeling lost about the future and purple for anti-violence.

"We hung the rainbow flag to show our concern for this issue; we were not manipulated by any group and we aren't disseminating propaganda. Different opinions have always been respected," said Teng Chih-yuan (鄧致遠), student president of the organization.

The decorations are often kept for a few days after the graduation to present and exhibit students' ideas. However, this year they were asked to be removed only one day after the event. It is believed that the school's decision was a response to criticism from those who are against LGBTQ rights.

On the day of the graduation, Defend Family Student League, one of the anti-marriage-equality groups, encouraged their supporters to show their protests by making phone calls to Jianguo High School's presidential office after spotting the rainbow flag.

Besides the president, many school officials had received angry phone calls and some even received complaints through their personal phones.

The group called it "Rainbow Terror," accusing the school of being biased. "Are LGBTQ advocates' opinions the only voice on this issue," they asked.