Anti-LGBTI campaigners have spent more than US$3 million on a campaign against same-sex marriage and LGBTI education.
Taiwan on Saturday (24 November) will hold referendums on whether to change the country’s Civil Code to recognize same-sex marriage.
Residents will also vote on whether to dismantle the country’s LGBTI-positive curriculum introduced in 2004.
Conservative campaigners, fueled by traditional Chinese family values and a small but powerful Christian minority, have been upping their anti-LGBTI rhetoric in the last days before the election.
Newspaper ads, billboards, flyers, fake news articles, and e-flyers peddling anti-LGBTI myths have bombarded Taiwan.
They claim same-sex marriage will lead to a collapse in the all-important family unit. Advertisements warn of a shrinking population in Taiwan.
They also claim Taiwan will become a haven for people with HIV looking to take advantage of the country’s public health system.
In a particularly sinister move, the 3 Yes group is running anti-LGBTI ads ahead of children’s videos on YouTube.
They claim teaching about LGBTI issues will confuse children about their gender identity.
Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, meanwhile, crowdfunded just over US$300,000. There have been reports of young volunteers being attacked while canvassing for votes.
LGBTI rights on the ballot
Taiwan’s bid to become the first country in Asia to recognize same-sex unions has become frustratingly long and winding.
Politicians first introduced equal marriage legislation into the parliament a decade ago. Pro-LGBTI President Tsai Ing-Wen campaigned in 2016 elections, they promised to equalize marriage.