TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After conducting a survey among junior and senior high school students, the Taiwan LGBTQ+ Hotline Association (Hotline) said educators must do better for that demographic of youth.
The association said the rights of LGBT students must be protected, with increased gender equality education implemented, more LGBT content added, and a safer learning environment provided.
The survey focused on the experiences of junior and senior high school level students. (Taiwan LGBTQ+ Hotline Association image)
Among 1,226 LGBT students surveyed nationwide, 35.6% reported feeling unsafe at school due to their sexuality, while 24.4% felt unsafe due to their gender expression. When asked about anti-LGBT statements at school, 41.9% said they often hear the word “gay” used with negative connotations, and 68.5% said they have heard teachers or staff make anti-LGBT statements.
Meanwhile, 62.1% of students said they experienced harassment or attacks at school for their sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. However, over half of these students did not report such incidents to faculty members. A total of 53.4% said they believed faculty members would not be able to resolve the situation effectively, while 16.8% of students said they believed faculty members themselves were anti-LGBT.
Though Taiwan’s Gender Equity Education Act has been implemented since 2004, when asked about sex education at school and with the option to choose more than one answer, only 45% of students surveyed said they were taught positive LGBT-related content during sex education.
A total of 26.9% of students reported being taught negative information, 34.9% reported sex education without LGBT content, 30.9% reported not getting LGBT information outside textbooks, and 9.3% reported simply not getting any sex education at all.
The association offered five suggestions on how to improve the LGBT environment on campus:
- The entire faculty, including principals and drill masters, must receive education on gender equality that includes LGBT issues.
- The Ministry of Education (MOE) must ensure LGBT-related content is included in gender equality education.
- Schools’ anti-bullying policies must protect LGBT student rights.
- Sex education should include LGBT sexual health issues.
- Schools should establish clubs that allow students to discuss gender equality issues.
At the press conference, Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) called for the MOE to implement four supportive measures, including conducting annual LGBT student experience surveys, reviewing faculty gender equality training performances, reexamining discriminatory school policies and making improvements within a year, and including LGBT student issues in the Gender Equity Education White Book.
Legislator Fan Yun and MOE representatives also attended the press conference. (Taiwan LGBTQ+ Hotline Association photo)
The MOE responded by saying that while faculty gender equality education requirements are included in the Gender Equity Education Act, implementation has been inadequate. The MOE added that it will promote the issue further in the future and take into consideration all advice for reference in lawmaking.
The MOE also proposed four supportive measures, including promoting respect for gender diversity and eliminating discriminatory values, establishing gender equality facilities such as gender-neutral restrooms and supportive clubs, designing friendly course plans that incorporate respect for gender diversity, and unblocking channels for reporting gender equality incidents.