Anchorage schools quietly removed one controversial gay sex instruction book from elementary schools after a parent activist read a passage of it out loud at a school board meeting in the fall, causing much blushing on the school board.
The activist’s read-aloud upset School Board Chair Margo Bellamy when he read salacious passages from “This Book is Gay,” and when he asked the board why the book is found in so many elementary school libraries.
Without fanfare and without using the district’s own written process, the book was removed from the libraries of all but one school in the district.
“If there’s nothing wrong with the book, why was it removed? If there is something wrong with the book, why is it still in Bartlett?” the parent asked the board at the last school board meeting, putting it on the public record that “This Book is Gay” was removed without the process.
In the past, the former superintendent asked for the book “Gender Queer” to be reviewed for appropriateness and it was removed from libraries, with Superintendent Deena Bishop explaining the matter to the school board.
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 at the time.
“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,” Bishop wrote.
Through a public records request, the parent activist found that, although the graphic gay-sex book “Gender Queer” is now out, teachers and librarians in the district have been collaborating to get more of these instructional books in kids’ hands.
“They tried to say all copies removed from system but a teacher at Steller is using ‘This Book is Gay,’ and ‘Beyond Magenta’ as required reading,” he said.
The evidence is clear from emails that the books were indeed being fast-tracked at Steller. The trove of email communications that has been uncovered included a note from a school librarian, saying that she would work quickly to get more gay-agenda books to the teacher, adding, “If I act fast you could use them.”
“Beyond Magenta,” which the parent activist also read aloud at a school board meeting, is said to be nonfiction, and has passages describing a six-year-old having sex with adults and how much he enjoyed it. The book glorifies pedophilia and criminal abuse of children. There are passages that glorify sex transition surgery, and the book celebrates what is called “gender-fuck” clothing, and binding, a practice that can damage a female’s breast tissue. The English Language Arts teacher, Ashley Vanhemert, is pursuing getting this and other books into her class for her course on censorship.
The parent activist also found that a librarian advocated for leaving the book, “This Book is Gay,” in school libraries. In it, there are detailed instructions on how boys can meet grown men through telephone “grindr” app for sex hookups, and the book has testimonials of 16-year-old losing virginity to a 30-year-old married man.
The librarian notes that it was shocking for her to hear it read out loud by the parent at the meeting, but it should be kept in schools because it has positive reviews from the School Library Journal and Booklist, and is recommended for 8th grade through 12 grade. She said it “is filled with factual information.”
In another exchange, a librarian explained her indignation that the parent activist had read a passage from “This Book is Gay” out loud at a school board meeting. (The parent was shut down by Board President Bellamy, although he had not used his allotted public testimony time.) The librarian said it deprived people of their right to not hear it.
In one email, an educator says that “This Book is Gay” is indeed graphic, but then she pointed out that there are passages in the Bible about both sodomy and sexual behavior. “This is such a slippery slope,” she said, indicating that the Bible promotes deviance:
In various exchanges, the librarian says to a teacher that “This Book is Gay” should be kept in the library. But in another exchange, a concerned parent who reached out about the book is told the book is not in the stacks, when it clearly has been in the stacks at Polaris, the school in question: