Teachers' union backed by Biden pushes Gender Queer, White Fragility for summer reading

The books were included on the NEA's "Great Summer Reads for Educators" list.


The National Education Association (NEA) recommended on Monday that teachers across the United States include Gender Queer, a controversial LGBTQ book, in their list of books to read over the summer. 

The NEA list includes White Fragility as well and recommends it to teachers so they can explore "why [w]hite people are so bad at talking about racism."

Maia Kobabe's "Gender Queer" has sparked concerns among parents across the country over its inclusion of pornographic content. A court in the City of Virginia Beach even said that it was too "obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors."

In March, Representative Chip Roy ripped into the book saying, "I hope they are successful in banning a number of books, the question is, which are those books? Are those for example 'Gender Queer'?"

The book is part of the NEA's "Banned Books: Celebrate the Freedom to Read!" section in the list that post books for teachers to read. The NEA wrote, "Twilight used to be at the top of banned-book lists for its racy content. Today, those lists are much more likely to feature LGBTQ+ people or People of Color."

The list says that "Gender Queer" is all "about identifying outside the gender binary." The book displays comic-style pictures of teens engaging in various sex positions.

In a school board meeting in Orange County, Florida last year, members of the administration stopped a father from reading the book in public comment. 

A member of the school board said, "Remove him from the chambers." Parents in the audience responded, "Why? Our kids are reading this."

The author, Maia Kobabe, on her "about" section of her website, highlights the book's nominations for awards, and that it was the "most challenged book in the United States in 2021 and 2022" because of the pornographic content. 

Part of the NEA's mission is to "fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world." 

The book list, with "Gender Queer," has an editor's note highlighting diversity, as stated in its mission, saying, "Educators read diverse books so that they can better understand their colleagues, students, and families they serve." 

Biden previously spoke with the NEA in July of 2021, thanking them for their support during his presidential campaign, saying that "every parent in this country who spent the last year helping educate their children at home understand that you deserve a raise."

The NEA endorsed Biden for president in 2020, and presented the Biden-Harris team with a "playbook" demanding that his administration "oppose all charter school expansion that undermines traditional public schools," "eliminate costs for the first four years at all public higher education institutions," and "support an adequately and equitably resourced and racially just education system."

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