TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Education Minister Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) reiterated today (Nov. 26) that the passage of referendum 11 (Do you agree that the Ministry of Education and individual schools should not teach homosexual-related education in schools?) does not mean the Ministry of Education will stop promoting gender equality education.
The minister said Taiwan will continue to implement gender equality education in elementary and middle schools, but same-sex related content will be reviewed to see if it needs revising in accordance with the referendum results.
The Legislative Yuan today requested Yeh to provide the Ministry of Education’s 2019 comprehensive plan alongside revenue and expenditure budget details. DPP legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who proposed a rejected same-sex marriage bill back in 2006, paid close attention to the gender equality section.
Hsiao pointed out to legislators that the circulation of misinformation led to prejudice and misunderstanding on the issue, which created a strong opposition against implementing LGBTQ-related education in schools. She blamed the ministry in part for not more actively expounding the significance of gender equality education.
Hsiao said because of the ruling, LGBTQ students are likely to start questioning the value of their existence, which in the worst of cases can result in self-harm and suicide. To ease the pressures of discrimination, the Ministry of Education needs to think about offering more support to school counseling services, she added, and strengthen discussions on and explanations of gender equality education.
Psychiatrists have already warned today of the negative impacts the referendum results are having on the mental health of the LGBTQ community in Taiwan.
Yeh said the purpose of gender equality education is to encourage children to respect peers with different gender traits and sexual orientations and create an environment free from discrimination. He said plenty of information is available about the curriculum on the ministry’s website.
The minister further commented that the ministry will continue to promote gender equality education regardless of the referendum result, although details regarding LGBTQ-related issues may need revising. Yeh said the ministry has always supported and will continue to support school counseling services, but an LGBTQ-friendly environment cannot be created through discussion alone.
Taiwan’s Gender Equity Education Act was implemented in 2004 “to promote substantive gender equality, eliminate gender discrimination, uphold human dignity, and improve and establish education resources and an environment of gender equality.”
On Saturday, 7,083,379 people (64.34% of voters) voted against the Enforcement Rules for the Gender Equity Education Act in elementary and middle schools.