A controversial graphic novel featuring explicit images and content depicting and describing sexuality and sex acts, including pedophilia, has been removed from Loudoun County, Virginia public school libraries.
The book, “Gender Queer,” written by gender nonbinary author Maia Kobabe, describes and illustrates youth experiences with gender identity, sexuality, sex acts, masturbation. It has faced scrutiny in a number of school districts nationally over its explicit images and some critics who shared pictures of some of the content contained within found themselves flagged on social media.
It is nonetheless fiercely defended by the author and other supporters as a critical resource to youth facing gender identity struggles.
“I read every book that is submitted for my review in its entirety. I am not generally in favor of removing books from the library. I believe our students need to see themselves reflected in the literature available to them,” Loudoun schools superintendent Scott Ziegler said in a statement.
“The pictorial depictions in this book ran counter to what is appropriate in school,” he wrote.
Ziegler had ordered a review of the controversial graphic novel, The Washington Post reported, and while there was resistance from the school board who appealed his initial decision to remove it from circulation, members ultimately voted to uphold the decision.
“Sexual content is a large part of this book,” Loudoun school board vice-chair Ian Serotkin wrote on Facebook, explaining his vote. “It is not fleeting or brief.”
“The sexually explicit illustrations which have gotten significant media and public attention may only appear on a handful of pages, but sexual themes are pervasive throughout the book,” he wrote. “And, the sexually explicit illustrations themselves cannot be ignored.”
“I think I can draw a line between something being described in writing and it being depicted in living color,” he added.
Here are some examples of the explicit illustrations (warning: they are graphic).
Loudoun County has been the focal point of many nationally trending stories surrounding the conflict between parents and school administrators between controversial transgender bathroom policies, critical race theory, and explicit sex ed and sexual content in classrooms and libraries. The school board has also been accused of covering up the rape of a female student in a girls’ bathroom by a male student wearing a skirt.
In September, a mother in Fairfax County, Virginia went viral after reading sections of “Gender Queer” out loud to members of the school board after she was shocked to find the book in her son’s high school library. The incident was particularly noteworthy because she was ultimately cut off by board members, one of whom noted there were children in attendance at the meeting.
The Fairfax County School Board voted unanimously to keep the book on school library shelves in November.
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