Cypriot education officials say a play that had to be revised due to the young age of school children in the audience was in fact dealing with gender reassignment, not attraction to the same sex.
A statement by the Education Ministry in the Republic of Cyprus was issued on Thursday as a follow up to a controversial debate after officials ordered a theater adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days to be revised due to inappropriate content for young children.
Last weekend parents cried foul over a local adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days that been revised after local media said officials did not approve of the play broaching homosexuality during a live performance in front of preteens.
'Of course there can be artistic prerogative for even these kinds of questions and adaptations at the theater but the question remains whether such performances are suitable for children under 12'
A children’s play directed by Marios Kakoullis broached subjects of equality and self-esteem, where actors emphasized children “could be whatever they wanted to be.”
But a mother of a confused pre-teen said there were many issues with the play including a question posed during the live performance, asking “is it okay for a boy to like another boy and is it okay for a girl to like another girl?”
The questions drew mixed reactions from the young audience according to the mother.
But the education ministry, which was criticized by gay activists and allies, says the problem with the play was not the phrase about a boy liking another boy.
An official statement said the play adaptation that was submitted to a committee from the very beginning including the phrase “is it okay for a boy to want to be a girl and for a girl to want to be a boy?”
“Therefore the real question is whether it is prudent to broach such subjects with children of age 5, 6, 7, and 8,” the ministry said.
The education ministry also took issue with the adaptation, asking how a classical story famous around the word could have anything to do with gender dysphoria.
“Of course there can be artistic prerogative for even these kinds of questions and adaptations at the theater. But the question remains whether such a performance is suitable for children under the age of 12,” the ministry added.