The Hong Kong Government Is Removing LGBT-Themed Children’s Books From Library Shelves
Anti-LGBT groups in Hong Kong have succeeded in getting Hong Kong’s public libraries to move 10 LGBT-themed children’s books into the “closed section,” according to the South China Morning Post. It turns out Hong Kong banned LGBT books because they don’t want kids reading about LGBT topics without “parental guidance.”
The Family School Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group is one of the anti-LGBT groups that spent months pressuring Hong Kong’s Home Affairs Bureau to make the books inaccessible to kids without parental consent. The Bureau says that their placement in the new section ensures that kids now will have “parental guidance” while reading them.
Among the 10 books removed from the public shelves were Daddy, Pappa and Me; Mommy, Mama and Me; and And Tango Makes Three. The Bureau said the seven other removed titles were “neutral without promoting homosexual or single-sex marriage,” and yet, the book Molly’s Family is similar in theme to Mommy, Mama and Me.
A closer look at the other titles reveals different LGBT themes. Annie on My Mind and Good Moon Rising both involve lesbian relationships; Milly, Molly and Different Dads and The Family Book merely acknowledge the existence of same-sex parents; The Boy in the Dress and Introducing Teddy both deal with gender identity in young children.
Critics of the Bureau’s recent decision to censor these books says it goes against the Unesco Public Libraries Manifesto that Hong Kong follows, which says libraries should be places of “free and unlimited access to knowledge, thought, culture and information.”
Placing these books in the closed section ensures that young children will go without ever seeing LGBTQ people displayed in literature. They’ll never accidentally discover their existence while exploring the bookshelves and they’ll never hear about them unless their parents specifically pick out the books for them to see, something few parents are likely to do.
Despite being the host of the 2022 Gay Games and of the more LGBT-accepting parts of Asia, one of Hong Kong’s courts recently ruled against same-sex marriage, and the prevalence of HIV and so-called ex-gay conversion therapy are both on the rise.
How do you feel about the fact that Hong Kong banned LGBT books?
Featured image by Sam Tsang via the South China Morning Post.