Sydney Council reverses LGBTQ+ book ban after backlash: ‘We demand our equal rights’

Cumberland City Council, Sydney has reversed its LGBTQ+ book ban after backlash from the queer community who protested outside of the council building, saying: “We demand our equal rights”.

On 15 May, Cumberland City Council was at the centre of an hours-long heated debate on the book ban – which saw eight publicly funded libraries becoming devoid of offering a book which included content on same-sex parents. The Mayor of Inner West Sydney branded the ban as “pathetic“. 

Cumberland City Council faced global backlash for banning the book, Same-Sex Parenting by Holly Duhig, which is suitable for children aged five to seven. 

The council debated Labor councillor Kun Huang’s motion to move the book to the junior non-fiction section, rather than banning it from libraries. The motion was passed 12-2 after four hours of debate, which also saw protestors clashing outside. 

Only two councillors supported the vote to ban the book, while a third who originally supported the ban changed his vote at the last moment.

Over 200 people were gathered outside the council chambers in Merrylands, New South Wales to rally for and against the decision to ban the LGBTQ+ book. Queer organisation Pride in Protest and NSW Young Greens organised a demonstration, which went head-to-head against another group supporting the book ban.

The group organised a live reading of the banned book, uploading it to their Instagram Stories: “Reading the ‘big scary’ book that’s divided Western Sydney tonight outside the council meeting to overturn the ban.”

The book tackles difficult situations, like step-parenting, death, and bullying, in an accessible way for children to understand. However, the innocent book proved to be enough to take down LGBTQ+-friendly material from all libraries in the Cumberland City constituency. 

The group chanted: “Together we stand, together we fight, we demand our equal rights.”

“One, two, three, four, get the bigots out the door,” they continued, as per a video filmed outside Cumberland Council. “Five, six, seven, eight, no one should discriminate.

“We’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous, don’t f**k with us.”

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