The #ebooksos campaign was appalled to hear of the cancellation of an author visit by Simon James Green at a Catholic School in London by Southwark Archdiocese, who cited this event as being “outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school”. Mr Green is an accomplished and award-winning children’s author whose books are age-appropriate, and so it is clear that this cancellation is due to Mr Green being a gay man and some of his books for older children featuring LGBTQ+ characters. Comments on the petition to cancel the event set up by the website Catholic Truth contain vile homophobic slurs and claims that it is “immoral” and a “lifestyle choice” to be gay, which are incredibly hateful and damaging words for LGBTQ+ children and young people to hear. We are also disturbed to learn that governors who wanted the event to go ahead have been removed from the school by the diocese. At #ebooksos we believe in fair access to information and knowledge, and reading for pleasure, for all. Mr Green’s books promote acceptance and kindness, and the theme of his visit was to talk about navigating life as a teenager, whether LGBTQ+ or not, which would have been valuable to all pupils in attendance, as well as offering some support to LGBTQ+ young people who face hostility simply for being who they are. The forced cancellation of this event sends the opposite message, one of hate and rejection, to LGBTQ+ children and young people. We stand with the school and others who wanted this event to go ahead, and we hope that the Archdiocese will step back and allow the school to run this and other author visits which they choose to offer for the benefit of their pupils.

Leave a Reply