New York City education dept defends including book featuring pornography in school libraries

The argument from the NYC DOE, under Schools Chancellor David Brooks, is that Maia Kobabe's "Gender Queer" "is well written," and that "Students with a similar experience will feel affirmed."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

A New York mom reached out to the New York City Department of Education to find out why a book featuring child pornography was allowed in the libraries of New York City public schools and to ask for it to be reconsidered for inclusion in the collection. The response she got was that it is both appropriate and beneficial for students to have graphic sexual imagery featured in the library collection.

"Why is there child pornography in NY School Libraries?" she asked. When she issued the query, she provided graphic images culled from the book. The DOE, in looking at these images, say that the "book neither depicts or describes pedophilia, child rape, or desensitizes to predators."

The book in question, Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer: A Memoir, is a coming of age story about a girl who grows up with hippie parents, finds herself at odds with the rest of school culture, has trouble with puberty, and fantasizes about having a penis. The book even talks about finding books in the library that encouraged the main character to pursue gender identity exploration.

"Why is this graphic pornographic and grooming text in the NY school libraries?" the New York City mom asks. "Our family has been harmed by gender ideology and pornography in schools, leading to three hospitalizations and a suicide attempt. Transition was not therapeutic and yet everywhere we turn, there is more propaganda pushing our children towards transition. There are no resources on detransition. Why is this?" she asks, desperate for help for her own child before the child comes to worse harm.

"Why is this content in schools? Who is looking out for the mental, physical and sexual health of our adolescents? Why are you grooming them into a status as a lifelong patient and surgical proving ground?" she asks. There is no reply from the DOE other than that this material is appropriate and good for teens.

"I would love to speak with someone in your office to discuss how we can better help adolescents dealing with very typical experiences of dysphoria," the mom writes. "There is nothing more transphobic than failing to help dysphoric kids like mine. I'm terrified of what is happening."

Reply from the Materials Evaluation Committee after the query on Gender Queer was made

The book was recommended as a "favorite" by the New York State Department of Education, which, once they were alerted to the content of the book, said that an investigation would be launched as to how the book ended up among those that were praised by the department.

Kobabe, who uses "e/em/eir" pronouns, has won numerous awards for the book. But the images in the book have angered parents due to its graphic depictions of sexual acts and apparent encouragement for children to question their gender identity.

Along the way, the main character in Gender Queer fantasizes about getting a blow job while driving despite not having a penis, discusses porn preferences with friends, complains that no one understands being asexual, and is horribly traumatized by and terrified of gynecological appointments, a theme that repeats in the book. At every step of the way, instead of trying to be more comfortable in her own body, the main character turns against herself.

Images of blow jobs are in the book, as well as other graphic sexual imagery. In the early part of the book, when the main character gets her first period, it's something out of a horror film, and while menstruation is never pleasant, that it remains a source of complete misery for the main character, is a sign that there is a disconnect between her mind and body. The realization that menstruation is a nightmare for basically all women never makes its way into the book. It would be easy for a young girl to read this, think "I also hate my period," and determine that perhaps that means she's not meant to be female.

The main character ends up loving femme clothes through a fascination with figure skater Johnny Weir, becomes obsessed with boy band One Direction, and in the absence of a healthy understanding of romantic relationships, decided to turn to Tinder, in grad school, for a meaningless hook-up simply in order to find out what kissing is like to be able to include that in One Direction fan fiction.

The main character discovers, on page 157, that in fact it is a "kink" that has been driving sexual fantasies: "autoandrophilia," or being aroused at the thought of having male genitals.

The New York City Department of Education feels that this is appropriate intellectual stimulation for students. They told the New York City mom who reached out to them, who remains anonymous due to her own family's struggles with gender identity, that they "recommended Gender Queer remain available to procure and circulate in high school libraries."

Their argument is that it "is well written," and that "Students with a similar experience will feel affirmed," apparently in their kink of fantasizing about being the opposite sex for the purpose of sexual gratification, and the exploration of porn and random hook-up culture.

The New York City Department of Education goes on to justify the book's inclusion by saying that "other readers can gain empathy and understanding for peers identifying as LGBTQ. It is important to note," they write, "Gender Queer is a memoir and one person's experience with their own identity."

The book contains graphic images of lesbians giving blow jobs to strap-on dildos and describes a euphoria when the main character discovers she can wear little boys' underwear. "These have dinosaurs! These have spaceships! These have COMICS on them!"

By page 185, the main character in enmeshed in a culture where men and women opt out of sex-based pronouns and are undergoing medical sex changes. She laments having ever gone through puberty as a child, and changes her pronouns. She's already determined to never have sex, and has a distinct abhorrence of all bodily fluids.

Upon discovering "e/em/eir" pronouns, the main character says, "I just got the biggest tingle down my spine," which tingle apparently means this is the right thing to do. The main character eventually complains of "physical pain" when someone gets the pronouns wrong, or continues using female ones. At this point, the character is about age 25, an adult who can make "eir" own choices, not a teen who is impressionable.

The main character pushes off concerns that simply being female is something that is difficult in society, and states the belief that a "third option" was always what was wanted. Earlier in the book, it was clear that the accoutrements and realities of being female were simply overwhelming, but by 197, the feeling of being a "third gender" is suddenly something that was "always wanted." It's as though the main character, and the author, are rewriting their own history in real time and then denying that this is what's being done.

The Materials Evaluation Committee of the NYCDOE thought these were elements that should be in circulation in school libraries. They justify this decision by saying the book has garnered many awards, without noting that these awards come from organizations that are intent on furthering the gender transition of minors, such as Stonewall, or are driven by far-left activists, such as the American Library Association.

In guidelines to school librarians, the Materials Evaluation Committee stresses that librarians should "Make sure that your collection development criteria match the curriculum, age level of your students and the religious and cultural atmosphere of your community." They recommend the book for 14-year-olds and older.

By page 211, the main character is using a binder to suppress "eir" breasts and appear less stereotypically female. By 213, the main character fantasizes about a double mastectomy. By 233, the main character is teaching middle school students, and making plans to come out to them.

As to the role of the school library, the DOE says that the book "affirms LGBTQ students," without any awareness that "affirmation" is not the only way, or even the most helpful way.

After hearing back from the DOE that yes, this book would be available to children in city school libraries, the New York mom reached out to Chancellor of Schools David Banks, saying:

"I reported this book for inappropriate sexual and gender grooming content. You can see my complaints attached and the city's response. The reviewing committee felt that this title, Gender Queer is appropriate for vulnerable dysphoric youth. Do you agree? Here is an excerpt," she writes, including images of the lesbian strap-on blowjob and nude gay sex fantasies. "This is not safe work work, but apparently it's safe for our kids. Do you agree? Is this what the Democratic agenda is?" she asks with mounting frustration.

"I am a lifelong liberal, leftist feminist who has voted Dem all my life," she tells Chancellor Banks, who has yet to respond. "I'm also a mom of a trans-identifying child who is mentally-ill. This is not helpful. Please stop. When can I get someone, ANYONE, to respond???"

This mom's desperate plea to stop teaching our kids to hate who they are has fallen on deaf ears. The NYC DOE apparently feels that affirming the wish for teens to surgically remove healthy body parts is appropriate, as is affirming the fear of routine medical visits. Affirming sexual kinks in teens is apparently the purview of the New York City Department of Education, as well. These are the values that the New York City Department of Education is hoping to instill in the city's youth.

The New York City Chancellor of Schools David Banks has been reached for comment.


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