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Taiwan Puts Gay Issues on School Agenda

in TAIWAN (CHINESE TAIPEI), 17/05/2011

Elementary and junior high schools in Taiwan will include gay issues on their curricula from September this year, when the fall semester begins, to teach students to respect and accept people of different sexual orientations, a Ministry of Education (MOE)official said.

The decision to put gay issues on school curriculums was in accordance with the Gender Equity Education Act and was meant to promote gender equality and raise students’ awareness of diversity, said Eric Ker, section chief of the MOE’s Student Affairs Committee.

However, some civic groups and parents have expressed concern that the primary and secondary levels are “too early” to educate students on gay issues. It would be “inappropriate” to teach students at that level about gay sex and sexual desires, they argued. Several groups have also launched an online petition against the MOE decision.

In response, Ker said that gay issues will only be a small part of sex education in schools. The focus will be concepts of gender equality rather than on details of individual sexual desires or behavior, he said.

For example, a discussion on gay pride parades will focus on gay civil rights, he said.

The Gender Equity Education Act was passed in 2004, banning gender discrimination in schools in Taiwan, and stipulating that school curriculums should include gender equality education.

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