Loving Parents of LGBT Taiwan — an organization for parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — was officially inaugurated yesterday and immediately called on society and the government to be more tolerant toward the LGBT community and for an equal rights bill.
“Gays are just like everyone else, they have parents, like us, and they, as well as their parents, pay taxes just like every citizen of this country — so they should enjoy the same rights as everybody else,” said the group’s convener, who was identified only as Mrs Kuo (郭), at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan to announce the group’s founding.
“The kids don’t get to choose whether they are gay, bi, or straight. It is not a choice because they are born that way, and 10 percent of all people could be gay,” she said.
Kuo said that as a parent, she feels that insults to gay people are insults to their parents as well, adding that well-structured sexual equality education was the key to ending discrimination.
Her daughter came out to her at age 15.
She said it was hard for her at first to accept the fact that her daughter was a lesbian, but she learned to accept it.
“Many people may think it’s hard to make your parents accept that you love someone of your own gender, which is why less than 30 percent of the LGBT population ‘come out of the closet’ to their parents,” Kuo said. “But based on our own experience, most parents are willing to accept the fact when their kids make an effort to communicate with their parents.”
One of the missions of the Loving Parents of LGBT Taiwan was to help gay children talk to their parents about their sexual orientation and help parents to accept their children for who they are.
Another woman, surnamed Chen (陳), who has a daughter who is a lesbian, said it took her a year to accept the fact after her daughter told her.
“At first, it was really hard to accept, it was something quite heartbreaking for me,” Chen said. “I went out to look for help to understand homosexuality; I talked to the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association and other gay rights advocacy groups.”
“I gradually realized that the way I worried about my daughter being lesbian was no different from the way I worried about her schoolwork or her health. All of a sudden, I didn’t see it as such a big deal anymore, it’s just one of those issues you run into as your kid grows up,” she said.
Chen said she was worried about her daughter’s sexual orientation not so much because of her orientation, but because “I’m worried about the discrimination she will suffer all her life.”
Therefore, social acceptance is the key to a better life for LGBT people and their families, Chen said.
Elias Tzeng (曾恕敏), a former minister at the Tong-kwang Light House Presbyterian Church — a church serving the LGBT population — criticized homophobic Christians and churches.
“Jesus Christ always approached those being exploited, repressed, marginalized and considered ‘unclean’ in Jewish society 2,000 years ago,” Tzeng said. “By discriminating against gays, some Christians are doing the same things that were done 2,000 years ago.”