The book A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, which is co-authored by controversial American psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, who practises gay conversion therapy, is currently available for loan in Hong Kong’s Central Library’s adult lending section.
Gay rights activist Betty Grisoni, co-founder of lesbian organisation Les Peches and co-director of the LGBT cultural festival Pink Season, says the library should put a warning on the book as it encourages parents to ‘prevent’ homosexuality in their children which is widely regarded by experts as pseudo-science.
The American Psychiatric Association has condemned such treatments as unethical.
Nicolosi advocates in the book that parents can make a homosexual outcome unlikely by laying the ‘best possible foundation for their child’s secure gender identity.’
‘Given widespread virulent prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping against sexual minorities, publications directly promoting homophobia should be carefully handled by public libraries,’ she told Gay Star News.
She also stressed that the book should remain on the shelves as a matter of ‘freedom of expression’ and understands that the books and other resources in a library ‘does not indicate endorsement of their contents by the library.’
The library has responded to Grisoni saying that the book was acquired in 2004 and was first put on shelf of the Adult Lending Library of the Hong Kong Central Library on 26 January 2005. Since then, it was checked out for 89 times and it hasn’t received any feedback or complaint pertaining to the book.
The book came to attention after a reader notified the library that the book could not be located. It has since been found.
The library however has not responded about whether it thought a disclaimer is necessary.
It recently defended several of its children’s books depicting families with same-sex parents after opponents of same-sex marriage called for the removal of Daddy, Papa and Me, and Mommy, Mama and Me, and two other books.
The department said its collection was guided by the Unesco Public Library Manifesto, which ‘neither takes sides in public issues nor attempts to promote any beliefs or points of view.’