Sun, May 22, 2011 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Banishing homophobia

Carol Nichols is patently forthright in her opposition to the teaching of sexual education in Taiwan’s schools (Letter, May 15, page 8). In fact, she feels that “within the educational school system, the less emphasis on the entire subject of sexuality, the better, at least until students reach high school.” Moreover, in this regard, Nichols maintains that “emphasis on sexual diversity issues is not the business of public education.”

Nichols is correct in asserting that homosexuality “differs from the norm.”

It is true that in all human societies, homosexuality is not the statistical norm. However, this does not mean that homosexuality is — in any sense of the word — “abnormal.” For example, in the US, there are some people with red hair and green eyes — two traits that are outside of the statistical norm. And yet I have never heard of red-haired, green-eyed people being referred to as “abnormal.” These two traits (along with homosexuality) are but two examples of the wonderful and marvelous diversity found in nature.

With her very careful writing style, Nichols does a very good job at covering up her homophobia.

However, her words belie this when she writes: “Although the current proposal stipulates that it [teaching about homosexuality] should begin at the fifth-grade level in Taiwan, the door would be open to lowering the age of the children subjected to a homosexual agenda” (the italics are mine).

First, by using the metaphor that “door would be open to lowering the age of the children subjected to a homosexual agenda,” Nichols is utilizing what, in rhetoric, is termed the “slippery slope” fallacy. Nichols has absolutely no grounds whatsoever for insinuating that beginning to teach children at the fifth-grade level about diversity in sexual orientation would somehow lead inevitably to progressively younger and younger kids being “subjected to a homosexual agenda.”

This last phrase is not only especially hateful (and hate-filled) and repugnant, it is also groundless and unbecoming of someone who claims to be either a proper parent or a legitimate teacher.

Nichols had better be able to provide documented evidence of this so-called secret “homosexual agenda,” or else she should refrain from pronouncing slurs against a societal minority that has already been unfairly persecuted and victimized.

Michael Scanlon

East Hartford, Connecticut

Editorial standards

It would be nice if your editorial team would pay more attention to the quality and accuracy of your writing. I have been reading your paper on and off for 10 years and although there have been a variety of errors, this is the first time you have actually had an error in a headline on the front page: “Kevin Rudd calls for making Beijing more a part of internation [sic] institutions” (May 05, page 1). Please make more of an effort — it is hard to take a newspaper seriously that cannot find the wherewithal to proof read its front page!

While you are at it, could you please ask your staff writers to check their writing for internal logic? An excerpt from Thursday’s edition serves as an example. In a short piece, “Taiwan up to sixth in competitiveness rankings, IMD says” (May 19, page 1), the reporter, Amy Su, writes that the change in rankings marks “the nation’s best performance for the second consecutive year.” Shortly followed by: “Last year, IMD raised the nation’s ranking by 15 notches to eighth from 23rd in 2009.” This does not make sense. It is illogical to claim a best performance for a consecutive year unless the performance was identical in both years and of course the performance in both years was the best of all time as well.

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