Russia Removes Trans Girl's Story From Children's Book

The hugely successful children's book fell foul of the country's gay propaganda laws.

Drawing of a young trans girl from a children's book

The worldwide bestselling children’s book, Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls, has had one of its stories about a little trans girl cut from the Russian edition.

The children’s book series was created to inspire young readers with the stories of heroic women as positive role models. One of those role models is Coy Mathis – a six year-old little trans girl who in 2013 took her home state of Colorado to court in order for her to be able to use the girl’s bathroom.

It was noticed by eagle eyed readers that the version published in Russia differed from the version released in other countries – Coy’s story had been erased. When confronted, the Russian publishers of the book confirmed it had been removed as it went against Russia’s gay propaganda laws. The supposed purpose of the law is to protect children from “information advocating for a denial of traditional family values”.

Hugh Lane

They replied: “Publication of the full version, unfortunately, in Russia is impossible. When publishing the work, we decided that the book is interesting for Russian girls to read, even in an abbreviated version. We respect the choice of each reader and apologize if this situation has hurt someone’s interests.”

The real irony is that the children’s book was written and edited by a lesbian couple in a civil partnership. Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli have sold over a million copies of their book and seen it translated into over 30 languages.  

The incident in Russia stands in stark contrast to another recently published children’s book, this one based solely on the experience of a trans child. Jack (Not Jackie) tells the story of Susan, a girl who finds out her younger sister Jackie would rather be known as Jack and identifies as a boy.

Published by the LGBT+ media non-profit GLAAD, it is a welcome addition to the ranks of books for children, although based on the reception for Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls, it can be assumed the Russian market might not be as welcoming.

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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