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LGBTI kids’ books removed from library shelves after complaints

LGBTI kids’ books removed from library shelves after complaints

the front covers of three children's books with cantonese writing underneath

A Hong Kong ‘focus group’ has successfully lobbied for the removal of several LGBTI themed children’s books from library shelves.

Wong Wai-Ming convenes the Sexual Orientation Ordinance Concern Group. The group is ‘parents, teachers and other Hong Kong citizens who are concerned about the Sex Discrimination Ordinance’.

The Sex Discrimination Ordinance is proposed legislation that would protect LGBTI people from discrimination and help shore up equal rights.

The group says is not affiliated with any political or religious organization.

‘We refrain from any form of discrimination,’ it says in its description.

‘However, we have studied the legislative proposals of foreign gay organizations and foreign related laws. We have found that if the Sex Discrimination Ordinance is to be enacted across the board, it will seriously affect the freedom of education in schools and force schools to implement “alternate brainwashing education”.’

It also says it had widened the ‘scope’ of its concern. It now plans to fight against trans issues, same-sex and de facto marriage, and ‘sexual liberation’.

Ban the books

One such move in its widened scope was to have 10 LGBTI books taken off library shelves.

Some of titles include, Molly’s Family, Introducing Teddy, Daddy, Papa, and Me, Mommy, Mama, and Me,  The Family Book, The Boy In The Dress and Milly, Molly and Different Dads.

The targeted books included stories about rainbow families and trans children.

‘Over the past few months, we have conveyed to Home Affairs Bureau, through correspondence and public action, our concern about the possession of homosexual and cross-gender children’s books in public libraries,’ it wrote on Facebook.

‘Freedom of information’

The Bureau apparently heeded their concerns and agreed that libraries should keep most of those titles locked away. If anyone wants to read the books they would have to ask library staff to access them.

It replied to the group’s protest confirming that it will keep the books under lock and key. But it refuses to ban them altogether. The bureau also ruled seven of the books did not actively promote marriage equality.

‘The Development Conference considers that these… books are neutral and do not render or promote homosexual and same-sex marriages,’ the Bureau wrote in its response.

‘Based on the library’s commitment to uphold the principle of freedom of information, it will not use collections to promote specific beliefs or views, and the ‘Collections Development Conference’ decided to continue to maintain these seven books as library collections.

‘However… in order to ensure that children are properly guided by reading, the books are stored in closed shelves, and all branches have just completed the arrangements for holding closed shelves, that is, individual readers will be required to visit their staff.

‘When parents choose suitable reading and reading for their children, they are free to choose whether they can read books and give proper guidance or interpretation to children.’

Fighting back

Gay Star News understands Hong Kong’s LGBTI community is outraged and is planning an appropriate response.

Homosexuality and transgenderism are not illegal in Hong Kong. But LGBTI people do not enjoy the same rights as straight people.

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