After it was brought to our attention that a Dymocks Bookstore was recommending transgender material to children, a number of negative reviews were left on the store’s official Facebook page.
The reviews suggested that the store should not be promoting such material to children, given the fact that Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute has revealed close to 80% of trans youth had self-harmed, while almost 50% have attempted suicide.
The store responded, suggesting these figures were due to lack of support in the children’s lives. It was then pointed out that even if that were the case, the store does not know the level of support available to each child, and so the decision to recommend such materials to young readers was irresponsible.
Not long after, the reviews were completely removed. When another customer noticed the reviews were deleted, she wrote to the store, “Taking down unfavourable reviews is dishonest and disappointing. Customers rely on reviews to make informed decisions. When only good reviews are kept and all others discarded it makes a mockery of the review system.”
The store responded to the customer by explaining, “the reviews that were taken down were reported as hate speech which goes against Facebook Community Standards. They were not indicative of our service and thus don’t belong in our reviews page.”
Josh Williamson, who first drew attention to the store’s decision to recommend the book, also had his review removed. Yesterday he responded on Facebook saying, “This is modern Australia. If you do not agree with the Rainbow Flag state religion then you will be silenced. Tolerance, inclusiveness… well that’s fine, unless you are a Christian.”
So, what do you think? Is it hate speech to question whether the decision to recommend this book for kids is acceptable and responsible?