No fairy tale ending to Lithuania's gay rights row

Published: February 5, 2011

Lithuania is torn apart over what stance to take toward its own gay population. As the country grapples with how much tolerance it will tolerate, it is facing strong pressure from the EU.

­Local deputies have recently voted for the draft law banning “homosexual propaganda”. The European Parliament reacted immediately, lancing those who disapprove of what many see as the agitation of homosexuality in schools and, what is even more surprising, in kindergartens.

The struggle escalated in 2009 when the National Association of Parents and Families petitioned the Lithuanian Ministry of Labor and Social Security, complaining about a teaching technique and project called “Gender Loops” that was being introduced in kindergartens. It was a fairy tale called “A King and a King” that triggered the parents’ rage. The summary of the tale is quite unusual: a prince went to see a princess in order to propose to her. But on the way to the princess, the prince saw her brother and fell in love with him, forgetting all about the princess. And the princes lived happily ever after. The tale was illustrated with colorful pictures, drawing the kids’ attention to gender roles.In some European circles, it is believed that such fairy tales help instill in children a tolerance for homosexuality. But Katya Chirkunova, a Moscow psychologist and psychiatrist, told RT that children do not need any special projects and techniques in order to become tolerant.

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