Two petitions calling for ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ to be banned have been lodged on the Brisbane City Council website, while a third supporting its continuations has also been lodged.
Wendy Francis, Queensland Director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), lodged a petition titled “Adult entertainment is not suitable for children”, in which she claims that the “sexual nature” of drag queens is inappropriate for children. Francis’ petition also claims that drag queens send the “controversial” message that “trans is great.”
“Medical experts warn of the danger of confusing children about their biological gender when the effects of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery are known to be harmful,” Francis’ petition reads. None of these claims are substantiated.
“The use of our public libraries for such events is a divisive practice rather than inclusive,” she says.
Francis’ petition currently has over 4400 signatures.
Another petition lodged by Peter Hayden demands a list of actions including the banning of all LGBTQI+ events, literature and materials from Brisbane libraries and the issuing of public apologies to offended parties. His petition makes broad, erroneous and defamatory claims regarding LGBTQI people.
A third petition, started by the publisher of LGBTIQ news outlet QNews, Richard Bakker calls for the council to keep running Drag Queen Story Time.
In his petition, Bakker asks the council “to acknowledge that our city is made up of beautifully diverse cultural backgrounds, lifestyles, experiences and beliefs,” noting that “diverse sexualities and gender identities are part of that beauty.”
“QNews started our petition to rally the huge support across Brisbane for these great events, run by Rainbow Families Queensland,” Bakker told Quest news.
“We needed to respond to the other petitions, including the one by Wendy Francis, which contain offensive and untrue statements about the LGBTIQ communities.
“The Storytime events may not appeal to everybody however, there are so many families across Brisbane who have told us they love them and want them to continue.”
The petitions come after an LNP-affiliated university group gatecrashed the Drag Queen story reading at Brisbane Square Library and confronted two drag queens who were reading books to children.
The president of the University of Queensland branch of the Liberal-National Club, Wilson Gavin, who led the protest , died by suicide the following morning.
Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Adrian Schrinner said this morning that he was not aware of the petitions and would need to read them before making any further comments, further stressing that Brisbane remains an accepting community.
“I haven’t seen the petitions and I’m not aware of the language, but I want to stress again, Brisbane is a tolerant and diverse community and we need to do what we can to protect that and to support the tolerance of diversity in our community,” Cr Schrinner said.
“This is why we run a whole range of events and festivals, including in our libraries, to support a diverse and tolerant community.”
Guidelines on the website state that petitions must “be respectful, decorous and temperate and not contain any language which is offensive or likely to be offensive to any member of the public”.
Interestingly, another petition created by Glen Nilsson, calls for Anti-Discrimination laws to be applied to petition descriptions.
Sign Richard Bakker’s petition here.
For all our coverage of Gavin Wilson and this ongoing story, click here.