Mon, Feb 05, 2018 - Page 6 News List

[ LETTER ]

More than words needed

In a speech at the European Parliament, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) mentioned that 120,000 people participated in the gay parade in Taipei last year, the largest such parade in Asia, that the Council of Grand Justices provided a constitutional interpretation that allows same-sex marriage and that Taiwan wants to connect to advanced Western values.

Taiwan’s gender equality is an Asian first, and it is of course something to be very proud of, and to offer guarantees for marriage equality is an advanced universal value.

However, a look back at Taiwan shows that gender equality education in Taipei is in crisis, and as mayor, Ko should not only use the results of the gay equality movement to his advantage, he is also responsible for controlling gender equality education in the city.

There have been media reports recently that the Taipei Department of Education has come under pressure by anti-gay forces and some city councilors to amend regulations to increase the number of parental representatives on the Gender Equality Education Committee from one to four, and to restrict those seats to parents nominated by the conservative Union of Parent Associations. This is mind-boggling.

Following the Council of Grand Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 748, anti-gay forces redirected the focus of their activities toward diversified gender equality education and started demanding that it be kicked out of schools.

Such a move would not only have a negative impact on students’ right to an education, it would also make it impossible to use gender equality education to achieve the goal of preventing discrimination and bullying.

Amazingly, the Department of Education is intending to give in to these parents, which would not only be damaging to its educational expertise, but also highlight the fact that its position on this issue is wavering.

These parents, who lack a background in gender equality education, are not only incapable of providing expert opinion on this and related issues, there is also a risk that they will oppose them simply for the sake of opposition.

Marriage equality is one of the government’s most important reforms, and it is also an issue that attracts praise from other countries.

Providing guarantees for gender equality is a responsibility that the mayor of the nation’s capital must not abandon. When facing opposition from reactionary forces, it will not do for Ko to shoot off a few well-chosen slogans, he must also work together with other groups to insist on adhering to advanced values.

Pan Kuan

New Taipei City

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