He turned up on BBC’s Breakfast defending his latest work from the censors and their red pencils. It seems education bosses forced the cancellation of his opera Beached by withdrawing from the project.
The opera, part of a community project in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, used a word they would prefer to see banned. The word? Queer. It was not used offensively, as far as I can tell, but it was used. And, in the modern equivalent of book-burning, bosses said it was not the kind of word they wanted four to 11 year-olds exposed to. They tried to get the word changed but Lee refused. The lyrics included the line: “Of course I’m queer/ That’s why I left here / So if you infer / That I prefer / A lad to a lass / And I’m working class / I’d have to concur.”
Is it all a storm in a tea cup? Lee said the decision by the school to pull out of the project was discrimination against the gay community.
It raised questions, he said, of censorship and the right of creators to say what they wanted.
Queer is a word sometimes used – with a sense of pride – by the gay community.
Lee was right not to change his work – about bringing all sections of the community together – to pander to the sensibilities of the pc brigade.
Meanwhile Opera North, behind the project, seemed to sit on the fence and expose themselves to the possibility of splinters in the bum.
They said they appreciated the viewpoint of the school but also appreciated the viewpoint of the author.
Wow. That’s telling them, or not. They do know that the opera had a message of tolerance and inclusiveness, don’t they?
Sourced from Sunday Sun Blog
- Opera by Billy Elliot writer cancelled over gay line (therainbowpost.com)
- Anti-Gay Censorship Kills New Opera (bilerico.com)
- ‘Billy Elliot’ writer’s opera dropped over gay character who calls himself ‘queer’ (miamiherald.typepad.com)