Wed, May 09, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Talking Gaga over gay rights question

By Kao Ying-chao 高穎超

US pop artist Lady Gaga’s tour of East Asia is provoking an offshore US-style religious anti-gay war. From South Korea to Hong Kong, Protestant conservatives are continuously protesting against the cultural icon, who, they believe, is condemned due to her “Born This Way” advocacy and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. A joke she made on one US talk show has been used out of context to prove she swore allegiance to the Devil.

Next on Gaga’s tour itinerary is Taiwan, where Christian fundamentalists have long-term conflicts with LGBT activists. What is really needed now is a broader pan-Pacific picture to see the truth behind the smog of anti-gay biased knowledge.

In Taiwan, where people generally have a lot of respect for US culture, but are less fluent in English than Hong Kongers, it is easy to infiltrate local ideas under the guise of imported knowledge.

For example, in recent debates around the teaching of LGBT issues for Grade 1 to 9 students, a few Christian professors horrified parents and educators — citing psychologist Erik Erickson — saying that if teachers taught gay-friendly classes in schools then their children would permanently become gay.

However, the pseudo-scientific statements have been proved as false. After thorough research, some Taiwanese academics studying social science in the US verified that in fact Erickson has not claimed any theory regarding a link between “same-sex confidants” and homosexuality. It is actually anti-gay academics who coined the term to mislead their innocent followers.

More often, anti-gay Christian conservatives in Taiwan selectively translate and strengthen right-wing US propaganda and use it to silence their opposition.

In 2010, the Taiwanese Exodus Association, a Christian group that aims to “straighten” homosexuals, translated a letter from the president of the American College of Pediatrics (ACPed) and published it in a quarterly perodical. This letter, penned in a professional tone, warned that homosexuals are not natural and that gay adolescents are at higher risk from physical disease and mental illness. It urged readers to join their anti-gay campaign, arguing that children should have no confusion about their sexual orientation when they reach the age of 25 if there is no interference in the education process.

All the scientific statements above are either wrong or erroneously cited.

Based on my research in the US this all amounts to an academic scandal hidden within its translation. The scientific excerpts have been arbitrarily uprooted and taken out of context to further an agenda. Despite protests from the original authors, most of whom affirmatively support LGBTs, the president of the Taiwanese Exodus Association has refused to correct or remove the citations.

Moreover, ACPed itself is also dubious and is not regarded as having the legitimacy of the widely recognized American Association of Pediatrics (AAP). The ACPed is a group composed of those left the AAP in 2002, after the AAP announced its support for same-sex families. Their decision was taken on the basis of long-term studies showing no significant differences between children raised by same-sex and opposite-sex parents.

As we can see these protests against Lady Gaga are simply more conservative trickery: Anti-gay groups using biased and selective translations.

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