A principal and his student wear skirts to a Taiwan school in protest of the removal of an LGBTI library book. (Photo: Facebook)
Teachers and students wore skirts to a school in Taiwan on Thursday (13 September). They were protesting the removal of an LGBTI children’s book from the library of another school in the country’s capital, Taipei.
A photo shared on Facebook shows the principal and a student of Taipei Heping Elementary School wearing skirts, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA).
LGBTI rights group Equal Love TW shared the post. They thanked the principal and parents for supporting gender equality.
‘Every child is one of a kind and education is to enable children to sympathize and tolerate difference, and to appreciate others’ uniqueness’, the group said.
Longan Elementary School is reviewing whether to put The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams back on the library shelf.
Taipei’s Education Bureau said they are ‘unsure’ about the school’s decision to take the book down. It hopes the suspension won’t last too long, according to the CNA.
The Boy in the Dress
British comedian David Walliams wrote the children’s book at the center of the debate. Renowned illustrator Quentin Blake did the accompanying artwork.
The book tells the story of a 12-year-old boy named Dennis. Dennis, who is also good at football, misses his mother and finds an interest in women’s fashion.
A schoolmate helps him dress up and he goes to school as Denise. The book explores the reactions of his teachers, family, and friends.
Significantly, in September 2017 during Australia’s equal marriage debate, some customers criticized retailer Aldi for selling the book.
The Royal Shakespeare Company is currently planning a stage adaptation of the book for December this year.
Fight for equal marriage
The fight for equal marriage in Taiwan has got complicated. In May 2017, Taiwan became the first Asian nation to rule in favor of same-sex marriage.
Grand Council of Justices ruled it was unconstitutional that the Civil Code did not allow same-sex couples to marry. The court gave legislators two years to make marriage equality law. But the legislative Yuan has been slow to act.
Now, campaigners on both sides are using a recently-passed referendum law to shape the debate.
Anti equal marriage campaigners want Taiwan to enact a separate law for civil unions between same-sex couples. This would be instead of changing the Civil Code.
LGBTI equality campaigners have denounced the move as discriminatory and failing to offer genuine equality.
Both sides have submitted petitions for referendums. These will likely take place alongside local elections in November