A ROW has erupted after the word ‘gayboy’ was removed from a new edition of the JM Barrie classic Peter Pan.
Barrie expert Dr Julian Cook, editor of the new version, said the word had led to many schools abandoning the much-loved adventures of the outrageously flamboyant young lad.
He added: “In 1902 it was perfectly normal for great novelists to use words like ‘gayboy’ or ‘screaming nancy’. No-one would have considered them offensive, apart from homosexuals, but there were only seven of them alive in England at the time.
“Now, of course, they’re everywhere.”
The word appears more than 200 times throughout the book from the moment when Wendy Darling wakes up and sees Peter at the end of her bed and says: “What are you looking at, gayboy?”
Later, when Peter flies out of Wendy’s bedroom window and urges the children to follow, five year-old Michael Darling remarks: “What’s with the little hat? Is he some sort of gayboy?”
When the children reach Neverland they discover that Peter was rejected by the Lost Boys for being ‘too poofy’, while Captain Hook famously chastises first mate Smee for ‘prancing like a Spanish homo’.
But the move has drawn criticism from both traditionalists and gay rights groups who have claimed it is a typical example of the sort of thing that gets them on the news.
Ludicrous old woman, Anne Widdecombe, said: “It is this sort of political correctness that undermines our cultural heritage and forces me to bite my tongue whenever I find myself in the same room as an arsebandit.”
Meanwhile gay rights activists insist the censorship is actually a clumsy attempt to whitewash Peter Pan’s sexuality.
Stephen Malley said: “Of course he was gay. What exactly was not gay about him? And if he’s not gay then how come he’s always played by a woman? Or Robin Williams?”
The controversy is the latest to hit children’s literature after health charities successfully banned the word ‘chocolate’ from Charlie and the Factory and the three year court battle to remove ‘dirty old fucker’ from Tom’s Midnight Garden.