The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.01230 Monday, 24 January 2005
Date: Saturday, 22 Jan 2005 18:41:45 -0800
Subject: Campaign Asks Children to Consider Whether Shakespeare Was Gay
Was Shakespeare gay, children?
Birmingham, Jan 22 2005
A campaign aimed at encouraging children to question whether William
Shakespeare was homosexual has been defended by the head of the
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
The campaign, launched by the Schools Out! lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender group, aims to teach children in schools about historical
figures and their sexuality.
Other famous figures on the Schools Out! website - backed by a
Department for Education and Skills grant - include Florence
Nightingale, King James I, Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci.
Schools Out! chairman Paul Patrick, said: "There are some famous people
in history who clearly we would now describe as gay or lesbian. Florence
Nightingale had relationships with women.
"As for William Shakespeare, the sonnets - his most personal writing -
actually talk about a relationship with another man. Whether that is
Shakespeare writing about himself or whether it is a conceit for the
poetry is the question."
Professor Stanley Wells, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
and editor of the Oxford Complete Works of William Shakespeare, said:
"What Mr Patrick says about the sonnets is absolutely true and I don't
think any Shakespeare scholar would disagree. If school teachers were
teaching the sonnets then they would be obliged to raise the question of
Shadow education secretary, Tim Collins, said it was "achingly
politically correct" but junior Education Minister Ivan Lewis defended
it as part of a Government anti-bullying strategy.
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