Anchorage School District has removed a book titled “Gender Queer” from school library shelves after complaints from parents.
According to a parent, Superintendent Deena Bishop wrote “This particular book was ordered in a batch purchase of a library association ‘award winners’ package.”
According to the Amazon review, author “Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.”
The book has since been moved to the public library, according to a note from Superintendent Deena Bishop.
“As I shared with you in my reply, I have asked for a review of this book. Yesterday, a final report of this review and a meeting with all librarians took place. I will share the update to you now. I am recommending this book not be in circulation in our libraries. We had found one copy and will remove it from circulation,” she wrote.
“It will be available to the general public via the Muni’s local public libraries; however, students will not have access via the shared resources process for an electronic or hardback copy. Thank you for your feedback on this book. It is an adult novel, and while many adult authors such as Stephen King and Jody Picoult, are appropriate for our teen readers, our assessment is that this one is not appropriate for our school libraries,” she wrote to a parent.
It’s unclear how many children had access to the book that was chosen for them by librarians, presumably with librarians with masters degree in library science.
This is the same book that a parent started reading aloud to a school board in California in October, making national news. Orange County School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs directed police officers to remove parent Jacob Engels when he began reading it into the microphone during the public testimony portion of the meeting. He had found the graphic novel in the local high school library, and discovered detailed written and graphic depictions of sex acts, some of which may be considered pornographic.
Engels was removed when he got to the part about “a new strap-on harness,” which “fit my favorite dildo perfectly. School Board Chair Jacobs said “the language he just read is inappropriate for this forum. This is the first time I’ve heard of this and the board has heard of this. We will look into it, and I do hope the book is removed. OK? And if not, we’ll be back here having this conversation again, but I can guarantee you, I did not know that book was in the library.” The Orange Times and Observer wrote that the book was indeed removed from the school library shelves.
Watch Jacob Engel reading the book and being removed from the school board meeting at this link. Or here: