Sunday, August 4, 2013

Russian Author Risks Arrest by Releasing Gay Themed Children’s Book

The very month that a law banning "promotion" of homosexuality among children and adolescents came into effect may seem an odd time to publish Russia's first young adult book against anti-LGBT prejudice.  

The Jester's Cap is a children's book daring to defy 'gay propaganda' laws in Russia.  Daria Wilke, author of "The Jester's Cap," told The Moscow News that it was "now or never." Ms. Wilke is risking arrest and a massive fine by releasing the children’s book with gay themes.  

The book is defying laws passed by President Vladimir Putin, which bans the spreading of ‘gay propaganda’ to children.

Daria Wilke’s new book tells the story of a 14-year-old boy named Grisha, who lives and works in a puppet theater with his family and an older gay friend called Sam.

Wilke is not living in Russia, as she emigrated from Moscow 13 years ago to the far more welcoming country of Austria.

Anti-gay protester at Gay Pride Event
St. Petersburg, Russia
June 29, 2013
Photo:  Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters

Speaking to The Atlantic, Wilke said: 

I wrote [the book] a year and a half ago, and the publisher was weighing when to release it.  But when these strange laws were being released — first the local anti-gay laws in various cities, then the broader one that passed just last month — eventually the publisher realized that if we didn’t release the book now, we might never be able to.  Because of these laws, in many bookstores, it has an “18+” stamp.

Wilke expects she would be quickly deported if she returned to her home country, but she has not heard from the Russian authorities about her book yet.

‘I haven’t had any bad reactions from the government,’ she said. ‘But then again, the book has only been out a month.'

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