Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s biggest port and third largest city, has a population of almost 2.8 million. Huang Jie (born 1993) is a local councilor and a former member of the leftist New Power Party (NPP) that emerged in early 2015 from the short-lived Sunflower Student Movement formed in the spring of 2014.
She has taken a second leave from her graduate program at the Institute of Environmental Health at National Taiwan University, apparently to become a professional politician, and was elected in 2018.
On September 9th, 2020 Huang urged Taiwanese to avoid “spreading fear and fake news” online amid rumors that children reading King & King, a fictional story about a homosexual prince, intended for ages six and older, would become gay.
The work is co-authored and co-illustrated by Dutch female artists Stern Nijland and Linda De Haan. Originally written in Dutch (“Koning & Koning”) and published in the Netherlands in 2000, it has since been published in ten languages, including traditional Chinese.
The book’s illustrations and the storyline have received both positive and negative reviews for its usefulness in the classroom and its challenges to traditional social norms.
At the request of now defunct, California-based Tricycle Press a sequel, King & King & Family, appeared in 2004. The married gay couple adopts a child they found in their suitcase after a trip to the jungle.
Taiwan’s increasingly progressive Ministry of Education has placed the masterpiece on this year’s recommended reading list for first graders. It supposedly teaches them how to deal with others and to control their emotions, also offering guidance on respecting cultural (?) diversity. “The essence of love is understanding. It is not something you can control or force.”
According to Huang, prejudiced groups opposed to same-sex marriage hide in the darkness and twist the message. Spreading false and one-sided information that misleads society would cause injury to minority groups. One allegedly has threatened schools and demanded that they remove the title from their shelves.
Other targeted titles include Oliver is a Sissy, The Boy Who Wears Skirts, And Tango Makes Three and Butterfly Duo Duo, about how sexually assaulted children are encouraged to confide to somebody they trust.
Although helping abused minors serves a noble cause and teaching about the reportedly monolithic LGBT community won’t necessarily turn kids into homosexuals, experiences in the West clearly show that such education is indeed aimed at cultivating homosexuality. Why else would transvestites nowadays be allowed into kindergartens? In this context, it’s completely irrelevant if all of these impersonators are gay or not.
While threatening to “fully investigate all anti-gender equality messages,” Huang announced that she would form a related supervisory group with other city councilors to promote her vision of 21st century Taiwan.
In support of the ministry’s decision, on September 10th representatives from the Taiwan Equality Campaign, the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association, the Awakening Foundation, the Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association and the Garden of Hope Foundation held a press conference.
The President of the Kaohsiung Holistic Education Parents’ Association, Yen Jen-yi, vehemently rebutted any claims that the publication wasn’t age-appropriate, and translator Lin Wei-yun reminded everybody that “We all feel scared and worried about things that are unfamiliar.” In conclusion, only comprehension could replace discrimination.
Tseng Hsien-ying, Christian leader of the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation couldn’t disagree more. In his opinion, King & King depicts marriages between men and women as unhappy and being forced upon couples, referring to it as an attempted brainwash.
One of the initiators of Referendum No. 11, hold in November 2018 and approved by a large majority, Tseng called on the pertinent authorities to withdraw the fairy tale to comply with its results.
It aimed to prevent that gay topics are taught in elementary school and junior-high schools, as stipulated by the Gender Equity Education Act decreed in 2004 by Chen Shui-bian’s government.
Though exactly as in the West, progressive political forces respect the people’s will only if it fits into their concept. This is remarkable as the ruling Democratic People’s Party (DPP) always praised referendums in general as great democratic achievements.
Nowadays, it’s basically forcing the interests of a small, but influential minority down the throat of the weakest members of an essentially still conservative society.