And Tango Makes Three is based on the true story of two male penguins that hatched and parented a baby chick at New York’s Central Park Zoo.
Singapore’s National Library Board (NLB) will no longer destroy children’s books about gay families but the books won’t stay in the children’s section.
The NLB’s plans to remove and destroy the books from its public libraries were condemned by many parents and literary figures as an act of censorship.
The board justified the controversial move because it said that the same-sex family affirming books – And Tango Makes Three, The White Swan Express, and Who’s In My Family? – were not “pro-family”.
On Friday, Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said on his Facebook page that while he stood by the NLB’s decision to remove books that are not “age-appropriate”, he did not approve of their destruction.
“Many objected to the idea that the books would be pulped after being withdrawn from circulation. I understand these reactions, which reflect a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word,” he said
And while Who’s in My Family has already been pulped, Ibrahim revealed that he had instructed NLB to not destroy the remaining two titles and instead move them to the adult section of public libraries.
“The decision on what books children can or cannot read remains with their parents,” he said, adding, “Parents who wish to borrow these books to read with their children will have the option to do so.”
Jaxe Pan, a mother who had asked the minister to intervene in the fracas, welcomed the move. “Thank you sir,” she wrote on her Facebook page, “This is a great move towards democracy, equality and inclusiveness for our country.”
The Facebook group Singapore’s Parents Against Library Censorship, which championed protests against the NLB’s action, was more lukewarm in its response, stating: “It’s progress. It’s not perfect, but it’s something.”
Male same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Singapore, although the ban is rarely enforced.