Australian author Will Kostakis says he was told that discussing his new book at a Sydney Catholic school would be “inappropriate” after he came out as gay in a blog post.
Will “reintroduced himself” in the moving blog post and shared a previous boyfriend’s recent battle with cancer.
He’s now published an email he says he received from a staff member at the school, named by Buzzfeed as De La Salle College in Revesby Heights.
In the published email, the staffer recommends he not discuss his new book The Sidekicks, which contains a gay character, at two upcoming speaking engagements at the school.
“We have a concern about promoting your new book at our school as it is a Catholic school,” the email read.
“We were reading over your blog and I think it might not be appropriate, and parents might not be happy.
“I have nothing personally against you and it sounds like a touching story that would love to read, however I feel it isn’t appropriate.”
Will spoke at the school last year to promote his last novel, The First Third, which also featured gay themes. He’s turned down the two engagements, publishing his response to the school’s email on his blog.
“I have to stick up for my 16-year-old self, and say this is personal,” he wrote.
He wrote that the queer themes in both novels were “written carefully and with respect to students and their parents.”
“The First Third was acceptable, but now I have a blog post saying I like men, The Sidekicks is not,” he wrote.
“Coming out publicly was difficult. I feared I would have to choose between doing what I love/earn a living from – engaging kids to read and be truthful in their writing – and not having to hide my partners from colleagues as ‘friends’.
“That is not something I will accept for the promise of a pay cheque. All the very best for the future, and I hope you find the courage my teachers did.”