Turkey's Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry has deemed a children's book featuring a story on a rainbow as an “obscene” publication, online news portal Bianet reported on Jan. 4.
The book will therefore be sold in a nontransparent package and will be only sold to people over the age of 18.
A written statement released by the ministry claimed that the book titled “Ben de Okuyorum Öykü Dizisi 3 – Büyülü Gökkuşağı” (“I am also reading, Series 3 – Magical Rainbow” in English) includes “some statements encouraging gender change” and “might lead children to question their sexual identities.”
“The Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications has decided that some statements and descriptions in the book titled 'Ben de Okuyorum Öykü Dizisi 3 – Büyülü Gökkuşağı' are capable of having a harmful effect on the spirituality and development of children under 18,” said the ministry.
According to the board, the book handles the story of a character named Yılmaz who heard “the tale that whoever passed under the rainbow, if it were a boy, he would become a girl and if it were a girl, she would become a boy.”
The board said this tale affected Yılmaz so much that he dreamed himself and his friend Dilek changing sexes after they both pass under the rainbow, and then going back to their original sexes once passing under the rainbow again.
“In the relevant book, the inclusion of some statements encouraging sex-change might cause children in different age groups to question their gender identities, and expressions in the book might damage children's spiritual and emotional health as well as balanced development; it might also have a negative effect on children's personal developments and spirituality,” it said.