Gay B.C. children's author says he's received threats from Russia
Published Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:38AM EDT
A British Columbia author known for his gay literature says he's been receiving threats from Russia, where new controversial anti-gay laws has been drawing the ire of gay rights groups for weeks now.
Robert Joseph Greene, author of The Blue Door – a children’s short story about a Russian prince who defies his father and proclaims his love for a boy -- said he's been the target of hate mail from Russia, calling him a pedophile and claiming the author is out to get their children.
"In Russia, the word for pedophile and gay is the same word," Greene told CTV British Columbia. "They don’t differentiate the two."
Greene said his book, which has been translated to Russian, is being seen as a "perfect example" of pro-gay propaganda which targets children in the country.
Russia’s new anti-gay bill – which passed in June, drawing condemnation from a number of countries -- makes it illegal to host gay pride rallies and to speak to minors about homosexuality.
Greene was first drawn into the controversy after a Russian news website posted an article by a local Vancouver newspaper about a student who was arrested and fined at a rally in St. Petersburg last year after reading translated excerpts of The Blue Door.
The anti-gay law has been denounced by politicians around the world, including Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
"This mean-spirited and hateful law will affect Russians 365 days of the year, every year. It is an incitement to intolerance, which breeds hate. And intolerance and hate breed violence," Baird told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview last week.
Baird said he will work with the United States and other like-minded countries to pressure the Russian government to change the law ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
"Hopefully, we can use that spotlight to bring pressure to bear on the Russian government," Baird said.
The anti-gay bill has also sparked calls for boycotts of the Olympics and of Russian vodka.
Russia’s sport minister, Vitaly Mutko, said last week the law will be enforced for athletes and tourists coming to Russia for next year’s Olympic Games.
With files from CTV British Columbia