Impacts of the same-sex family curriculum on undergraduates’ beliefs in Taiwan

Year: 2016

Author: Chang, Te-sheng, Wang, Tsai-Wei

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

While most of the same-sex-related studies were conducted in the western countries, the issue of heterosexual students’ belief about children adjustment in the same-sex family in Asian countries received little attention. In Taiwan, public attitudes toward the gay and lesbian issues have been coming to the attention of society for more than a decade, and negative beliefs about the same-sex family continue to be serious problems. As a teacher educator, I have covered the same-sex contents into my gender education course that attempted to help students reduce negative beliefs about the same-sex family. The purpose of this study was to assess undergraduate students’ belief changes towards the same-sex family before and after taking a five-week same-sex family curriculum that was part of my semester-long gender education course in my university in Taiwan. The participants were 60 female and 38 male students who took the course in the fall semester of 2013. In an effort to reduce students’ negative beliefs about the same-sex family, the course consisted of role-playing activities, panels of lesbian and gay people, audiovisual materials about the same-sex partnership/marriage, readings about the human right for gays and lesbians, and taking part in Taipei gay pride parade. The pre-and-post tests, semi-structured interviews, classroom observation, instructor’ logs, and students’ learning portfolios were applied in this study.The Beliefs about Children’s Adjustment in Gay Family scale (BCAGF) and the Beliefs about Children’s Adjustment in Lesbian Family scale (BCALF) were applied to assess of the participants’ belief about negative impact on children who are raised by same-sex parents. Both scales included 12 items reflecting the following two factors: individual opposition and normative opposition. Individual opposition refers to the personal or individual beliefs that the subjects make about the adverse effects of the upbringing and education by same-sex parents on the psychological adjustment of their children. Normative opposition refers to the opinions using the heterosexist norm as the cause of the child’s maladjustment. The alpha coefficients are .91 and .90 for BCAGF and BCALF, respectively. The results indicate that after the training, students’ bias towards children’s adjustment in the same-sex family reduced significantly. There is significant difference between male and female students’ scores in both domains. Both male and females students reported no different scores for children adjustment in gay family and lesbians families, respectively. All students were satisfied with the curricula and some even considered the duration insufficient.