Controversial book under review | Suffolk County News

Sam Desmond

A book titled “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by non-binary author Maia Kobabe, has come under fire in the Connetquot School District, with parents calling on the administration to remove the book from circulation at Connetquot High School.

The district has since provided the following statement: “In accordance with school board policy, if a document housed in one of our school libraries is challenged by a parent/guardian because of its content, the selection is temporarily removed. of circulation pending review by a committee. Recently, the district received such a request for the book “Gender Queer”, which is part of the collection of the Library Media Center of the high school. The review process is currently underway.

The Connetquot School District was asked how long the review process might take and which members of the administration and/or faculty served on the committee for the review, but did not respond to Suffolk County News at the time of printing.

Jacquelyn DiLorenzo, a Bohemian native and mother, who opposes the book’s inclusion in the high school library, said: ‘The book in question has mature content which should not be made available to minors. Content must be discussed with a parent or guardian before a child can access it. A school library bypasses the stage when there is parental input and the opportunity for meaningful dialogue about its content.

Jenna Murphy, a Ronkonkoma resident who is in favor of the book being made available to students in the high school library, said, “There is no reason to remove a book from a library shelf. . Removing “Gender Queer” should be no different. A school library, or any library, should be a place where anyone can learn – learn anything, without judgment and without contempt or embarrassment. Nothing should be limited in a library and all libraries should be a safe place. My only wish is that anyone who wants to learn can.

The book has become one of the “most banned books” of 2021 in the national spotlight according to a report by NBC News, with its presence in schools officially challenged in at least 11 states.

Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and Governor Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) called the book “obscene” and “pornographic”, both strongly questioning “[how the] the books ended up on the school shelves.

The book explores themes of identity and sexuality and has won awards from the American Library Association and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). ALA’s annual Alex Prize recognizes 10 books originally written for adults but that resonate strongly with teens and other young readers.

Kobabe, who uses gender-neutral Spivak pronouns e, em, and eir, said in interviews that the graphic novel (a term meant to describe a comic book style, not an adjective for content), which was released in 2019 , is meant to be a guide to gender identity, coming out, the “trauma of being non-binary in a society that largely sees gender as male or female.”

The most controversial graphic novel is the depiction of a character performing a sexual act on a character’s fake genitalia. The section in question features a bird’s eye view and a side view of a sex act in the panel. In another section of the graphic novel, the 14-year-old main character imagines a scene from ancient Greece where an older man is shown touching the genitals of a seemingly much younger male character.

To view “Gender Queer: A Memoir” in its entirety for the controversial scenes, it can be purchased at: https://www.amazon.com/Gender-Queer-Memoir-Maia-Kobabe/dp/1549304003.

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