Putting LGBT-themed books behind closed doors is censorship that denies children supportive resources
I am outraged that children’s books about same-sex families have been removed from public library shelves in Hong Kong (“LGBT-themed books removed from library shelves”, June 21). This goes against the Unesco Public Libraries Manifesto that Hong Kong follows, which instructs libraries to be places of “free and unlimited access to knowledge, thought, culture and information”.
Despite Hong Kong not yet legalising gay marriage, the LBGT community exists here and many members are raising children. It is important for these children to see themselves represented in books and also for other children to see that loving families come in many shapes and sizes. Respect for others and an acceptance of difference are important values for children to learn.
The youth of Hong Kong have some of the highest stress levels in the world. Likewise, youth in the LGBT community worldwide have higher than average rates of mental health issues. Removing books with gay themes sends the message to at-risk young people that same-sex families are “wrong” and need to be hidden away. I worry about the effect this could have on young people in Hong Kong who may be exploring their sexuality. Instead of discrimination, they need to be supported and valued.
There is no justification for removing picture books that promote diversity, tolerance and love. It is unbelievable that this censorship has occurred, and that pressure from anti-gay groups should sway government decisions. This is not the Hong Kong I want my child to grow up in. Our children deserve better.
Emily Sim, Shek Tong Tsui