"WHO CLOSED HIS CLOSET DOOR?
Kindergarten, the soccer team or his friends? His family or expectations from his relatives?
The fairy tales, the movies or the toys in the toy store?"
This edgy campaign caused a backlash from a child protection group that said the sexual depiction of children could encourage pedophiles.
Pride's chairman Anders Selin stressed that all the children depicted are now adult gays, lesbians or transexuals between the ages of 24 and 40.
"We're not telling people that every youngster is homosexual but that it should be as respectable as being heterosexual," he told Reuters. Selin said he wanted to provoke debate about how adults' sexual orientation is influenced in childhood by "how our parents raise us and how we're influenced by toy shops, etc."
But conservative member of parliament Rosita Runegrund, who works for EPCAT, an international network of organizations that combat the sexual exploitation of children, objected to the fact that the campaign gives young children a sexual identity.
"Pedophiles use the argument that children have a sexual identity," she said.
"There is a strong reaction from the public who don't understand these pictures. It's not necessary. Children must have their own experience and it takes time for them to find their own sexual identity," Runegrund told Reuters.
Selin, a 36-year-old youth worker featured in one of the ads himself (as "Anders, seven years old, gay"), said that "as soon as you talk about homosexuality and children everyone starts yelling about pedophiles."
Anders, 7 Years Old, Gay
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