Taiwan’s only Catholic university removed posters advertising a gay speaker amid fears that students would become gay by attending the event. The cancellation decision comes amidst a national debate about expanding LGBT equality.
The Good Club and the Gender Studies Group at Fu Jen Catholic University hosted Miao Po-ya last month for a talk titled “My Coming Out Experience.” Po-ya heads the Alliance to End the Death Penalty, but is also an openly gay man.
According to Gay Star News, students were originally told the poster was removed because of flaws in their event application, but later they learned:
” ‘The section’s teaching assistant then admitted that someone had complained about the poster and he had sent someone to take it down…After further inquiries, he said, “The title of this poster is too provocative and made school authorities and conservative people discontent and uncomfortable.” ‘ “
An administrator said further, “Traditional people are afraid that this lecture will turn everyone gay” and banned controversial activities. However, Good Club president Chan Ting-qi questioned the school’s action and said the institution should defend students against discrimination.
This decision comes as national debate over LGBT rights is heating up, even though Taiwan stands out among East Asian nations as already having taken steps for LGBT equality. Legislators are currently considering a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, the first legislature to do so in East Asia. The bill proposes to insert gender-neutral language in existing law to remove references to husband and wife or mother and father. As expected, there is staunch religious opposition to the proposed bill. In addition, the Ministry of the Interior recently announced transgender Taiwanese citizens can change their registered identity without proof of gender-confirmation surgery.
Though less than 2% of the population, Taiwanese Catholics, including Fu Jen University administrators, should help lead efforts against discrimination rather than perpetuating false and harmful anti-gay beliefs evident in the incident over Miao Po-ya’s lecture.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry