Conservative Russian parents are furious that their children have been told that Oscar Wilde was accused of being gay in a novel given to the youngsters for summer reading.
Local media report parents of the students, aged 12 and 13, in the city of Yaroslavl in the western Russian region of Yaroslavl Oblast were outraged that a short biography of Wilde in the copy of ‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ the youngsters referenced the accusations of homosexuality against the author.
The biography reads: “People accused him of homosexual acts. Homosexuality was illegal at that time. Wilde contested this, but he lost the case and was sent to prison in Reading for two years of hard labour.”
One unnamed parent said: “In the biography it’s said that he was homosexual. Our kids are too young to know what that is. I don’t think they’ve chosen the right age to provide such literature.”
Another unnamed parent said: “I am shocked. Is it really the best age for them to discover things like this? Maybe I do not get some things in this world but I think that we should teach the youth traditional family values.”
School representatives did not agree with the parents, saying the book was taken from the reading list offered by the Russian Ministry of Education.
The school said parents who do not want their children to read the section about homosexuality may cover it with something or just tell their children not to go through the biography, as the “book itself is wonderful”.
In 2013, Russia brought in a law “banning homosexual propaganda” to “protect children from information advocating for a denial of traditional family values”. The law prevents homosexuality from being presented as a norm in society to children.
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Story By: Gheorghi Caraseni, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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