The National Education Association's Read Across America gave the New York State Department of Education an excuse to enlist librarians across the state to share their favorite books. Lauren Moore, a librarian from Albany, promoted Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer, which features explicit drawings of teens performing oral sex, among other acts.
Moore wrote in her advocacy for the pornographic book that she is "grateful for books that let my kid know they're not alone." Moore is the Assistant Commissioner for Libraries and a New York State Librarian.
The book, Gender Queer: A Memoir, a graphic novel by author Maia Kobabe, who uses "e/em/eir" pronouns, has won numerous awards. But the images in the book have angered parents due to its graphic depictions of sex acts and apparent encouragement for children to question their gender identity.
In an email to The Post Millennial, Emily DeSantis of the State Education Department (SED) wrote that "SED was not aware of the graphic nature of the contents of the book, which is not apparent from its title. Once we became aware, we immediately removed the post. SED is investigating the circumstances under which this title was selected and posted."
A mom in Rhode Island posted not only explicit images from the book, but correspondence she had with the school wherein administrators upheld the validity of providing this work to high school students. "Public school gives your kids porn because it's good for them," she wrote, sharing the response from the school.
When images from the book were posted to Instagram and Facebook, they were removed by the site.
The New York Public Library praised the book in 2020, saying that the book is an "intensely cathartic autobiography," that "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 "[s]tarted as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual." The library praises the book as "more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity-what it means and how to think about it-for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere."
The book was at issue in the Virginia gubernatorial race that saw Glenn Youngkin ushered in as governor. Gender Queer was pulled from school libraries in Fairfax County, Virginia. Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe slammed Youngkin for wanting books like this out of school libraries.
Once parents became aware of the book, and how prevalent it was on library and school library shelves, there was pushback against promoting the book to children and teens. The book is still promoted by the Manhattan Public Library as well as the New York Public Library, among dozens of others.
This article was updated with a comment from the State Education Department.
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