HONG KONG – Authorities in Hong Kong have placed 10 LGBT-themed children’s books on so-called “closed stacks” in public libraries, Human Rights Watch reported on Wednesday.
In a letter to Hong Kong’s Home Affairs Bureau, HRW urged the government to revoke its decision, arguing that it sends a “stigmatizing message that LGBT content is inherently inappropriate.”
The books, for which visitors will have to place a request in order to access them, were declared by the Home Affairs Bureau as “neutral” on June 15 in response to complaints by a group of citizens.
One of the books, “And the tango makes three,” is a children’s book based on a true story about two male penguins who hatch an egg and raise a youngster.
“Instead of hiding a children’s book about a same-sex penguin couple, Hong Kong’s government should endorse nondiscrimination and put the books back on the open shelves,” said Boris Dittrich, LGBT rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
Another book, “Introducing Teddy,” tells the story of a stuffed bear who identifies as a girl and wants to be called Tilly instead of Thomas.
The decision shows the Government’s preference to “exclude and discriminate against” people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, HRW said.
“LGBT children, who are subject to disproportionate rates of bullying and often experience feelings of isolation and alienation, need reliable, accurate, and affirming information,” Dittrich said.