Author of Gender Queer novel says it’s not ‘recommended for kids’

Gender Queer author Maia Kobabe says it’s not ‘recommended for kids’ after Rep. Louisiana lawmaker read explicit passages during Senate hearing

  • Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, denied that the pro-LGBTQ comic book is meant for kids 
  • Senator John Kennedy, 71, read aloud from Gender Queer during the hearing because it is currently allowed in Illinois schools 

The author of the graphic novel ‘Gender Queer’ said it is not ‘recommend for kids’ after a Louisiana lawmaker read explicit passages out loud during a Senate hearing. 

Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, denied that the pro-LGBTQ comic book is meant for kids – despite it being the most challenged book in US schools and libraries for two years in a row.  

Senator John Kennedy, 71, read aloud from Gender Queer during the hearing because it is currently allowed in Illinois schools. 

He was making his point amid the continuing Republican fight to keep inappropriate subject matter out of the reach of young children at public schools and libraries.

Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, denied that the pro-LGBTQ comic book is meant for kids - despite it being the most challenged book in US schools and libraries for two years in a row

Senator John Kennedy, 71, read aloud from Gender Queer during the hearing because it is currently allowed in Illinois schools

Kennedy read out loud during the debate: ‘I got a new strap-on harness today. I can’t wait to put it on you. It will fit my favorite dildo perfectly. 

‘You’re going to look so hot. I can’t wait to have your c**k in my mouth. I’m going to give you the b****w**b of your life, then I want you inside of me.’

The Rep. also read from All Boys Aren’t Blue, which contains similarly concerning material for children. The hearing Tuesday centered around Illinois’ anti-book ban law.

But in an interview with the Washington Post, Kobabe said the book is not recommended for kids.  

Kobabe refuted: ‘It keeps being called a children’s book. Senator Kennedy implied it was a children’s book. 

‘But I think that’s coming from a misreading of the comic-book form. ‘Gender Queer’ is a comic, and in full color, but that doesn’t mean it’s for children. 

The book¿s publisher, Lion Forge, initially marketed it toward older teens and adults, and Kobabe previously said that the memoir is for 'high school and above,' meaning it could be read by 14-year-olds

‘I originally wrote it for my parents, and then for older teens who were already asking these questions about themselves. 

‘I don’t recommend this book for kids!’ 

The author went on to insist that queer-curious kids are better of reading about these thoughts and feelings than getting their ideas from the internet.

Kobabe said: ‘I would rather young readers encounter information in books than in random unstructured Googling.

‘I have so many readers telling me, “I heard about your book because it was banned.”‘

Kobabe told the Washington Post the book was written to help the author come out to family members. 

The book’s publisher, Lion Forge, initially marketed it toward older teens and adults, and Kobabe previously said that the memoir is for ‘high school and above,’ meaning it could be read by 14-year-olds. 

It is advertised currently by Simon and Schuster as a guide ‘for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere’ – without providing age-limit guidelines. 

Kobabe has two new books set to come out – Breathe: Journeys to Healthy Binding with Dr Sarah Peitzmeier, and Saachi’s Stories.  

In April this year, The American Library Association announced that Kobabe’s ‘Gender Queer’ was the most ‘challenged’ book of 2022 – the second consecutive year it has topped the list.

It faced 151 challenges last year for its explicit content.  

It is a book that has caused contention across the county. Chino Valley Unified School District clerk Andrew Cruz is seen reading from Gender Queer during a heated public board meeting at Don Lugo High School in Chino on July 20, 2023

The ALA defines a challenge as a ‘formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.’

Other books facing similar trials include George M. Johnson’s ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue,’ Mike Curato’s ‘Flamer,’ Stephen Chbosky’s ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ John Green’s ‘Looking for Alaska,’ Jonathan Evison’s ‘Lawn Boy’ and Juno Dawson’s ‘This Book Is Gay.’

‘All the challenges are openly saying that young people should not be exposed to LGBTQ materials,’ said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who directs the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The list also includes Toni Morrison’s first novel, the 1970 release ‘The Bluest Eye,’ which has been criticized for its references to rape and incest; Sherman Alexie’s ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ (sexual content, profanity) and Sarah J. Maas’ ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ (sexual content).

The ALA usually compiles a Top 10 list, but this year expanded it to 13 because the books ranked 10 to 13 were in a virtual tie.

In April this year, The American Library Association announced that Kobabe's 'Gender Queer' was the most 'challenged' book of 2022 - the second consecutive year it has topped the list

‘In the past, when it was that close, we would flip a coin to see who got in the list. This year, we got rid of the coin,’ Caldwell-Stone said.

 According to PEN, there were 1,477 individual book bans affecting 874 different titles, up from 1,149 bans in the second half of 2021-2022. 

‘Gender Queer’ and ‘Flamer’ tied at 15 for the most times banned during the more recent period, with other frequently banned books including ‘The Bluest Eye,’ ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ and a graphic novel edition of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’

Kennedy sought to prove on Tuesday that the books being kept out of the hands of children are disturbing and include mature content that parents should have a say in determining if their children can access it.

‘Let’s take two books that have been much discussed,’ the Republican senator said, addressing Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias.

He read verbatim from the book All Boys Aren’t Blue: ‘I put some lube on and got him on his knees, and I began to slide into him from behind. I pulled out of him and kissed him while he masturbated. 

‘He asked me to turn over while he slipped a condom on himself. This was my a** and I was struggling to imagine someone inside me. 

‘He got on top and slowly inserted himself into me. It was the worst pain I think I have ever felt in my life. Eventually, I felt a mix of pleasure with the pain.’

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