Byline: NIGEL NELSON
KIDS are to get bizarre gay history lessons - to teach them that William Shakespeare was a homosexual.
Pupils as young as five will also be taught that nursing heroine Florence Nightingale was a lesbian.
The "Gay Level" studies - backed by schools minister Stephen Twigg have triggered outraged protests.
Shadow education minister Chris Grayling condemned the politically correct brainwave as "just extraordinary".
Children in all primary and secondary schools will be offered lessons which concentrate on the gay and lesbian lives of key figures from history.
Pupils will be told how the Bard fancied fellas - and the Lady with the Lamp secretly carried a torch for the girls.
Although there have been suggestions that the nation's greatest dramatist and most famous nurse fancied members of their own sex nothing has ever been proved for sure.
Mr Grayling stormed: "It's rewriting history. This is a disservice to the memory of two of Britain's greatest figures. It will create a new image of them based on speculation rather than knowledge and diverts from their real achievements. And it doesn't do gay and lesbian people any favours."
Shadow young people's minister Charles Hendry added: "This is going to lead to unnecessary confrontation because the debate will be about if someone was gay or not.
"We should be concentrating on their contributions. This is a distraction and a bit of an own goal."
Children will also learn about modern gay icons like actor Sir Ian McKellen and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS. It is even possible that older children will write essays on aspects of gay history such as male brothels and "cottaging" - meeting in toilets for illicit sex.
The lessons are part of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, organised by Schools Out, a support group for gay and lesbian teachers. They follow the idea of the Black History Month taught in many schools. …