Sydney’s Hill Shire Council Votes To Stop Supporting Drag Story Time Events

Sydney’s Hill Shire Council Votes To Stop Supporting Drag Story Time Events
Image: Hill Shire Council Mayor Peter Gangemi (left) was among the councillors who supported councillor Jerome Cox's motion against Drag Story Time events. Images: Facebook

Hill Shire Council in the Greater Sydney region voted on Tuesday to stop hosting Drag Story time events, a vote one councillor said was “offensive” to the LGBTQI community.

The motion by Liberal Councillor Jerome Cox was passed 10-2, with all the Liberal Councillors, including Mayor Peter Gangemi voting in favour. Greens councillor Mila Kasby and Labor councillor Ryan Tracey were the only ones who stood up to oppose the motion. 

In a statement provided to Star Observer, a Council spokesperson said that “the motion aimed to ensure that Council does not provide activities of a sexualised nature or content to young children.” 

“This motion was in response to an LGNSW motion that sought to influence councils to deliver these types of programs… It is our view that this is not a priority of local government.”

“The motion does not prevent people from booking in a Council venue to host their own event or function,” the spokesperson added. 

Shameful And Misleading

Greens Councillor Mila Kasby (centre) with LGBTQI community members at the Hill Shire Council meeting on Tuesday, February 6, 2024. Image: Facebook

Greens Councillor Kasby slammed the vote as well as the statement issued by the Council for “shamefully misleading” the public. 

Kasby told Star Observer that young people who attended the Council meeting were upset afterwards.”Although the Council is not ‘banning’ Drag Story time, these events will not be held in libraries (you can’t hire out library space) and won’t be freely available to families that would like to participate in LGBTQIA+ events. It also sends a message to the community that Council does not support Drag Story Time,” Kasby said.

“I am so ashamed to be a member of a council which passed this terrible and hurtful resolution,” Kasby posted on Facebook. “Councils should be making it clear that homophobia and transphobia will not be tolerated, not perpetuate outdated and harmful misinformation.”

“The view put forward by Councillor Cox and then adopted by a majority of Councillors that Drag Story Time and similar events might include sexualised material targeted at children is likely to result in fearmongering and prejudice against the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Kasby. 

“There is nothing sexual about Drag Story Time, it is age-appropriate, family-friendly fun that celebrates diversity and fosters self-acceptance and a sense of belonging for all children,” added Kasby. 

Anti-Drag Story Time Motion

Cox’s controversial motion called on the Hill Shire Councillors to reject motions supporting drag story time that was passed at the Local Government NSW Annual Conference in 2023. 

In his motion, Cox asked the council to “reject any encouragement or facilitation from LGNSW or any other Group, for the Council to host Drag or sexualised material designed to target children”.

The 2023 LG NSW motions supported drag story time events in council facilities. The motion had called on councils to not give in to far-right intimidation tactics and find “community-driven safety solutions to ensure that drag story time and similar events can take place at council facilities safely for performers and attendees.

Hill Shire Council Mayor Peter Gangemi, Deputy Mayor Mitchell Blue, councillors Mark Hodges, Jessica Brazier, Tony Hay, Renee Jethi, Virginia Ellis, Rosemarie Boneham, Frank De Masi and Barbara Burton supported Cox’s motion.

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