Hong Kong: Books in public library that encourage homophobia or openly teach parents to “prevent” same-sex orientations in their children should come with a government approved disclaimer, say gay rights activists.
One such book available in the Central Library’s adult lending section is A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by American psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, who the book says practices gay conversion therapy.
The author says it uses real-life anecdotes of parenting to illustrate how parents can form a child’s sexuality.
Betty Grisoni, co-founder of Hong Kong’s largest lesbian organization Les Peches is not against a ban on the book because of freedom of expression.
However such publications “should perhaps carry a disclaimer” because of the “widespread virulent prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping against sexual minorities [in] publications directly promoting homophobia should be carefully handled by public libraries,” she told scmp.com.
A disclaimer should point to the scientific community’s opposition to gay conversion therapy, she said.
The American Psychiatric Association says forms of gay conversion therapy that include electric shocks and other psychological abuse is unethical and those undergoing such treatment risks depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior. The United Kingdom Council for Pyschotherapy also calls the practice unethical.
“I am all for respecting free speech but books like Nicolosi’s amount to anti-gay propaganda and are forms of hate,” Bess Hepworth, of Rainbow Families and Out Leadership, was quoted as saying in the report.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department which is responsible for public libraries said its collection was guided by the Unesco Public Library Manifesto, which “neither takes sides in public issues nor attempts to promote any beliefs or points of view.”
Six public libraries currently stock Daddy, Papa and Me, and Mommy, Mama and Me that promote families with same-sex parents.