Christian print shop owner refuses WorldPride order because he was ‘obeying God’

Sydney WorldPride flyers 2023

A printing company has refused to make flyers for a Sydney WorldPride sports event, with the owner saying it’s against his “religious beliefs”. 

Sydney WorldPride runs until 5 March and celebrates Australia’s LGBTQ+ community with more than 300 events, including the world-renowned Mardi Gras parade. 

Needing flyers for Sydney roller derby league’s Pride fight, being held today (17 February), Sydney WorldPride asked Kwik Kopy, in Sydney’s central business district, to print them, but the franchise owner turned down the request.

Owner Wing Khong responded to the email request for flyers, saying that his “religious beliefs” prohibited him from accepting the job, the Star Observer reports.

In the email, he wrote: “I am unable to print this job for you. 

“I am a Christian and my faith requires me to obey what the Bible teaches. I hope you understand.” 

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Following a backlash to the owner’s email, Kwik Kopy Australia’s chief executive, Sonia Shwabsky, was forced to apologise and promised to print the flyers free at another outlet.

It’s unlawful to refuse good or serves to someone due to their gender or sexuality in Australia, under the 1984 Sex Discrimination Act.

In an interview with Nine News, Khong said he didn’t mean “offence”, but stood by his decision. 

Trolls upset over Sydney WorldPride tributes

This isn’t the first time Sydney WorldPride has prompted backlash from anti-LGBTQ+ people.

Last month, Tourism Australia’s official Instagram account was swamped with hate because it posted a picture of cable car decorated with the Progress Pride flag. 

In response, the head of marketing at Scenic World, Axel Moline, told PinkNews displaying the flag on the Scenic Skyway was “to celebrate Sydney WorldPride in a way that anyone and everyone can feel a part of”.

Moline added: “We wanted to do something unique – as far as we know this hasn’t been done before – and create an iconic image for visitors to remember from their visit to the Blue Mountains and the beautiful World Heritage landscape that make the area so special.” 

Progress Shark
Progress Shark is becoming a queer icon. (Credit: Sydney Pride / Getty Images)

A huge hit with the LGBTQ+ community – and accidental icon of WorldPride – is Progress Shark – a massive shark statue, covered in the Progress Pride flag – which can be found outside the Australian Museum, Sydney. 

The installation, which features a metallic version of the flag that drapes into tassels below the shark, was opened on 8 February, but by then it had already solidified itself as a cultural icon. 

But the statue has also been demonised by people offended by the inclusive flag.

Mark Latham, representing the right-wing populist One Nation Party, took to Twitter to say: “[New South Wales premier Dominic] Perrottet and his ministers bash our great community clubs while funding this garbage. Today’s Liberal and National Parties in action.” 

Similarly, on Facebook, he said it was “complete garbage” that the New South Wales government “chooses to fund” a “rainbow LGTBIQ [sic] shark” when there were “roads falling apart, school results going backwards and power bills skyrocketing”.

PinkNews has contacted Sydney WorldPride and Kwik Kopy for comment.