Amid Russia’s “gay propaganda” laws, Tchaikovsky biopic stirs controversy

Posted on: September 20, 2013

“Russia’s culture minister has denied that composer Peter Tchaikovsky was gay, discarding what has long been regarded as historical fact,” writes Shaun Walker in the Guardian (London) on Wednesday (9/18). “Vladimir Medinsky claimed that there was no evidence to suggest the 19th-century composer was anything other than a lonely man who failed to find a suitable woman to marry. Medinsky was asked about the composer’s sexuality after news emerged that a film biopic of Tchaikovsky being made with Russian government funding would ignore the composer’s sexuality. The script was apparently revised to remove references that could have made it vulnerable under Russia’s controversial new ‘gay propaganda’ laws. The film’s screenwriter, Yuri Arabov, denied that Tchaikovsky was gay…. Historians, however, say there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary. ‘In the case of Tchaikovsky his homosexuality is so well documented by his own writings and the writings of others that it is simply ludicrous to suggest otherwise,’ said the author Konstantin Rotikov, who has written a history of gay Saint Petersburg. ‘It’s a historical fact.’ … Medinsky said the film should be about Tchaikovsky’s life as a ‘genius’ and ‘a great Russian composer’ and not focus on ‘rumours’ about his private life.”

Posted September 20, 2013