Recently in Taiwan, McCafé launched a campaign named “More Warmth in Conversations”. One of its videos showed a son handing his father a cup with the words: “I like boys” written on it. The father, though seemingly reluctant to accept the fact, stormed away and returned with the cup, having written: “I accept that you like boys.”
Right after the video’s release, it sparked discontent among various religious groups in Taiwan. Chang Shou-yi, secretary general of the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of Family, has urged parents and consumers to boycott McDonald’s.
“Now, even if you want to just take a leak at a McDonald’s bathroom, you can’t help but feel polluted,” he said. The Alliance also says that it “rebukes and boycotts all enterprises that are polluting the next generation.”
Before I respond to this, allow me to clarify. I simply do not believe that McDonald’s launched this video for purely altruistic reasons of promote acceptance towards the LGBT community. I believe this is really just a campaign to boost their publicity among the people who support LGBT rights.
In fact, this is actually not the first time McDonald’s has used LGBT issues to boost their own support. In 2010, it released an advertisement in France showing another gay son talking with his father. Afterwards, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce sent McDonald’s a letter that severed its ties to the company and rejected any future financial support the company might offer.
Yet, let us leave that aside because the response from the religious group does highlight a lack of acceptance towards different doctrines. I believe that everyone should have the right to practise their own religion and you are allowed to formulate your opinions based on your own religious beliefs. But you do not have the right to force people into having the same religious belief as you. This is Taiwan, a pluralistic and a democratic society, where different views and opinions should be accepted, and diversity embraced.
Moreover, this advertisement only sends out the message to encourage homosexuals to come out of the closet and to open themselves to their family members. The younger generation should know, at the very least, the LGBT community exists and then formulate their own opinions regarding the issue instead of being in the dark and being told that all families are simply one male and one female.
Perhaps to truly cultivate a more integrated, harmonious society where understanding and mutual respect is the basis, more acceptance is needed. After all, even Pope Francis, although not in support of gay marriage, said in 2015: “The church must search out these persons [homosexual couples], welcome and accompany them, for a church with closed doors betrays herself and her mission, and instead of being a bridge, becomes a roadblock.”
A civilised, diversified and democratic society calls for mutual respect, co-existence and it calls for acceptance.