Brisbane City Council (BCC) today responded to the Drag Queen Storytime petitions lodged earlier this year. QNews publisher Richard Bakker started a pro-storytime petition in response to others asking for the banning of LGBTIQ+ library events. The council today responded to the petitions reaffirming their commitment to the events.
One petition also asked that the council remove all LGBTIQ+ literature from libraries. Further, the petitioner demanded BCC pass legislation stopping the reintroduction of LGBTIQ+ programs, activities and literature in the future.
In today’s reply to petitioners, BCC described its libraries as ‘welcoming, inclusive community hubs’. The council said the libraries host a range of events reflecting and supporting Brisbane’s diverse communities.
“Every family is different, and Council acknowledges this fact and celebrates our different cultures, race, sexuality, genders, and religions.
“Children’s Storytime sessions provide an opportunity for the development of reading, literacy and learning skills through interactive and engaging sessions.”
The Council pointed out that they hold the events in conjunction with Rainbow Families Queensland. Further, BCC noted all performers at the events hold appropriate Blue Card registration. BCC also requires parents or carers to accompany all children attending Drag Queen Storytime.
BCC committed to inclusion, tolerance and diversity
Additionally, the Brisbane City Council statement affirmed BCC’s commitment to inclusion, tolerance and diversity.
“Given that all families are different, parents and carers will have different views on what activities are suitable for their own children to participate in. Council respects the decisions of parents and carers to determine which activities are suitable for their children to participate in, and therefore their decision to attend library events.
“Drag Queen Storytime is one of hundreds of different events held in Council libraries each year that foster a diverse and inclusive city. Council remains committed to its values of inclusion, tolerance and diversity and will continue to offer Drag Queen Storytime in libraries as part of the range of events offered in response to community needs.”
Brisbane City Council also noted in reply to one petitioner, that it does not censor material except where legally required. “This ensures a broad, diverse and inclusive collection and range of material available… to view or borrow.”
In reply to another petition, BCC defended allowing potentially offensive petitions. It described petitions as “a mechanism for the public to express a view about a matter affecting them and/or a community.”
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