The Hong Kong government has been accused of “appeasing hate groups” after it gave way to pressure to remove ten LGBT+ children’s books from its public libraries.
The books, including Molly’s Family, Introducing Teddy, Daddy and Papa and Me, Mommy, Mama and Me, The Family Book, The Boy in the Dress and Milly, Molly and Different Dads have been removed from the country’s public library shelves.
Afer anti-gay focus group the Sexual Orientation Ordinance Concern Group made a complaint on Friday about the books promoting homosexuality, the Home Affairs Bureau ordered the books to be removed from public display.
“Over the past few months, we have conveyed to Home Affairs Bureau, through correspondence and public action, pour concern about the possession of homosexual and cross-gender children’s books in public libraries,” the anti-gay group wrote on Facebook.
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Home Affairs defended the decision, saying that although the books have been removed from public display, they will be available upon request.
“The decision was made to ensure young people are “properly guided when consuming these reading materials”, said the Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wa in a quoted response email to the Concern Group,” wrote Hong Kong’s Young Post.
“The Development Conference considers that these books are neutral and do not render or promote homosexual and same-sex marriages.
“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.”
But Brian Leung from the LGBT rights group, the Big Love Alliance, told the Hong Kong Standard that the move is totally “unacceptable and appalling.”
“They emphasised that they moved the books to the closed stacks and the decision is based on concerns expressed by various readers. But we all know so well that it’s not expressed by just regular readers of the library, it’s by a very notorious Hong Kong anti-gay hate group,” he said.