On Wednesday, the Circuit Court for the City of Virginia Beach deemed two novels to be "obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors," including the widely controversial graphic novel "Gender Queer, A Memoir."
Virginia Republican congressional candidate Tommy Altman brought his concerns regarding these "obscene" materials, which have been distributed amongst grade school libraries across the state, to the court, petitioning for parents to have the right to make decisions on whether their children have access to materials containing sexual content.
"Gender Queer," written by Maia Kobabe, has gained widespread criticism across the country for depicting in the comic-style book scenes of teens engaging in sexual acts.
Kobabe has defended the book, writing in an op-ed that "One of the charges thrown against the book was that it promoted pedophilia — based on a single panel depicting an erotic ancient Greek vase. Others simply called it pornography, a common accusation against work with themes of queer sexuality."
On Wednesday though, the court rules that the book is "obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors, and the Court having reviewed the Petition, and the subject book in question finds that there is probable cause to believe that the book Gender Queer, A Memoir is obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors."
The court ordered that a copy of the petition and order be sent to Kobabe and the book’s publisher, who have 21 days to respond to the order’s allegations.
According to Altman, "This ruling will prevent any distribution of these books to children without parental consent; this includes public libraries, and bookstores."
Another book, "A Court of Mist and Fury," the second book in the "Court of Thorns and Roses" series, was also issued a similar order, stating that the novel, written by Sarah J. Maas, was too obscene for minors.
On Amazon, the book is classified as being a young adult novel, a genre of books for readers spanning pre- to late-teen years.
Common Sense Media, who rates book and other viewing materials on their age appropriateness for children, says the readership age should be 17 and up.
According to Tim Anderson, who is running for the House of Delegates in Virginia and served as counsel for the petitioner, Altman, this book had been found in the 6th grade library at Lynnhaven Middle School.
"This is not literature. Its porn. [sic] Its designed to desensitize children to sex as early as 11 years old," Anderson wrote.
In screenshots of the book obtained by Anderson, one passage goes into great detail in regards to sexual acts.
"These books go far beyond the usual themes children may read in the fantasy genre and include graphically described scenes of sex, gore, excessive profanity, and even depict sexual acts performed by a minor. This is wildly inappropriate for school aged children, especially when those children can access these books without parental consent," said Altman.
"Parents have a right to make decisions about what is being exposed to their children and this is just one of many steps my team and I are taking to prevent the sexualization of our children," said Altman.