This Saturday, a number of points associated to LGBTQ equality, together with marriage, are up for referendum in Taiwan’s mid-term elections. A bit greater than a 12 months after the nation’s high court docket dominated in favor of same-sex marriage, the LGBTQ group is as soon as once more preventing for his or her rights because of efforts by anti-gay teams. The battle has reached social media platforms together with YouTube, the place a bunch referred to as three Sure is operating an advert, typically showing earlier than well-liked youngsters’s movies, that claims educating about LGBTQ points in colleges will confuse younger youngsters about their gender id.
three Sure’ identify refers to a few referendum objects (proposals 10, 11, and 12) that anti-gay teams need voters to approve throughout Saturday’s election. The questions ask voters “Do you agree that marriage must be restricted to being between one man and one lady beneath the Civil Code?”; “Do you agree that the Ministry of Schooling and colleges on the elementary and junior excessive degree shouldn’t educate about homosexuality as detailed within the Gender Fairness Schooling Act?” [passed in 2004 to promote gender equality and prevent discrimination]; and “Do you comply with unions outdoors of those outlined as marriage by the Civil Code to guard the proper of same-sex to reside collectively completely?”
In an try to counteract these proposals, LGBTQ advocacy teams launched two further referendums (14 and 15) that ask “Do you agree that the rights of same-sex to get married must be assured by the Civil Code’s marriage rules?” and “Do you agree that gender fairness schooling as outlined beneath the Gender Fairness Schooling Act must be taught in any respect phases of the nationwide curriculum and embody schooling about feelings, intercourse, and homosexuality?”
Although Taiwan’s Constitutional Court docket dominated in favor of same-sex marriage in 2017, the truth that the difficulty and others made it to referendum this 12 months underscores the ability of anti-gay teams led by non secular conservatives, together with the Bread of Life Christian Church, the Happiness of the Subsequent Era Alliance, and the Alliance of Taiwan Non secular Teams for the Safety of the Household. Along with YouTube movies, teams akin to these have additionally unfold homophobic propaganda and misinformation by way of demonstrations, flyers, banners, and different on-line platforms together with YouTube, Fb, and Line, one of the crucial well-liked messaging apps in Taiwan.
An instance of a flyer denouncing schooling about LGBTQ points.
three Sure’ YouTube channel has three movies. Two seem to indicate same-sex earlier than they instantly veer into messaging that marriage is between one man and one lady. The third, which was uploaded to three Sure’ channel every week in the past and is presently operating as an advert, is much more pernicious.
It opens at a college, with younger college students a textbook. A woman says “He should be 80% like a woman,” referring to a boy, who will get upset and runs house. Upset, he asks his mother and father “My classmates are laughing at me for being 80% like a woman. Do you assume I’m a boy or lady?” as they appear in shock on the textbook. His older sister then turns to their father and says “Dad, you should be 100% lady” as each mother and father gape at her in horror. The advert cuts to the slogan “Help ACCURATE, AGE-APPROPRIATE gender fairness schooling.”
(It’s value stating, contemplating the video’s misogyny, that Taiwan’s authorities needed to challenge tips towards sex-selective abortions as a result of the desire for boys has skewed the nation’s intercourse ratio).

I’m the mum or dad of a toddler and commenced noticing the advert popping up this week once we watched well-liked children’ channels on YouTube. The instance embedded was taken earlier than a video by Tremendous Easy Songs, a channel with over 12 million subscribers that options nursery rhymes and different content material for very younger children. Whereas I’ve seen it at different occasions, the frequency it seems within the afternoon and early night means that three Sure scheduled their advert to run throughout these time slots, when many children are house from college, in entrance of content material focused to them.
(You will need to notice that whereas YouTube content material creators can filter out sure advertisers from operating earlier than their movies, many could also be unaware of adverts just like the one by three Sure as a result of they aren’t positioned in the identical market. Tremendous Easy Songs, three Sure, and Google have all been contacted for remark. When reached by way of their Fb web page, somebody from three Sure stated they don’t run TV adverts. I clarified that I imply YouTube adverts and am awaiting a response.)
The advert is particularly regarding as a result of it helps the unfold of misinformation about sexuality and gender by anti-gay teams in Taiwan. Debates are required for referendums and through certainly one of them, the chief director of the Nationwide Alliance of Presidents of Mother and father Associations, Yang Chun-tzu, acknowledged that youngsters shouldn’t find out about gay points throughout elementary and junior highschool as a result of it may affect their sexual orientation. That notion has been debunked by rising mounds of proof that sexual orientation is principally decided by genetic elements.
Certainly, statements just like the these made by Yang and three Sure help the case for extra schooling about LGBTQ points in Taiwan’s colleges, not much less. three Sure’ video additionally seems to contravene Google’s new initiative towards misinformation, although it’s much less clear if it violates its coverage towards hate speech.
However even when it doesn’t incite bodily violence, it promotes dangerous stereotypes about LGBTQ folks and is a tragic echo of different cases when anti-gay adverts have run on YouTube, generally showing earlier than movies by LGBTQ YouTubers. It is usually a reminder that YouTube’s makes an attempt to make its platform safer for kids, together with “safeguarding the emotional and bodily well-being of minors,” is troublesome to implement.
Think about being a LGBTQ little one in Taiwan and seeing an advert like that pop-up when you are watching your favourite channels, at a time when the fundamental rights of LGBTQ individuals are up for a vote, and you’re already confronted daily by banners and posters that declare you’re in a lesser class of human. This can be a stark reminder that social media platforms and content material creators should pay extra consideration in numerous markets to the type of adverts and content material which are allowed to be focused to children, particularly throughout elections and different politically-charged occasions.

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