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Author admits 'Gender Queer' is inappropriate for young children after Republican senator reads from it during hearing: 'I don't recommend this book for kids!'
Composite screenshot of Senator John Kenney and MLive YouTube videos (Right: author Maia Kobabe)

Author admits 'Gender Queer' is inappropriate for young children after Republican senator reads from it during hearing: 'I don't recommend this book for kids!'

The author of the controversial graphic novel "Gender Queer" has finally admitted that her book is not appropriate for elementary and middle school students after a Republican U.S. senator read an explicit excerpt from it during a hearing about "book bans."

On September 12, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) quoted a passage from "Gender Queer," written by Maia Kobabe, to demonstrate the sordid nature of some of the books to which concerned parents have objected. "I got a new strap-on harness today," the 71-year-old senator read aloud. "I can’t wait to put it on you. It will fit my favorite dildo perfectly. You will look so hot. I can’t wait to have your c**k in my mouth. I’m going to give you the b***job of your life, then I want you inside of me."

Even Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, a Democrat and an opponent of so-called book bans, had to acknowledge that the passage was "very disturbing," "especially coming out of" the mouth of an aged man like Sen. Kennedy.

Kennedy questions Giannoulias, Samuels in Judiciaryyoutu.be

A clip of Kennedy's exchange with hearing panelists went viral, so much so that Kobabe defended her book in an interview with the Washington Post that was published two days after the book-ban hearing. "It keeps being called a children's book," Kobabe said. "Senator Kennedy implied it was a children's book. But I think that’s coming from a misreading of the comic book form. 'Gender Queer' is a comic, and in full color, but that doesn't mean it's for children."

Kobabe explained to the Post that she initially wrote the book to convey to her family her perspective on gender. "[T]he point of the comics was initially to be a tool to help me come out to my own family. A way to say: 'This is what I’m talking about when I talk about gender. The pronouns are the tip of the iceberg,'" said Kobabe, who prefers e/em/eir pronouns, the correct pronunciation of which is unclear.

"I originally wrote it for my parents, and then for older teens who were already asking these questions about themselves," Kobabe continued. "I don't recommend this book for kids!"

In an op-ed published in the Post in October 2021, Kobabe claimed that "Gender Queer" is "generally" appropriate for those in "[h]igh school and above." High school students are typically between 14 and 18 years old.

Maia Kobabe talks about the pushback against 'Gender Queer'www.youtube.com

"Gender Queer" and another book excerpted by Sen. Kennedy, "All Boys Aren't Blue" by George M. Johnson, remain two of the most "challenged" books in recent years, according to the American Library Association, which objects to book bans. Other "challenged" books include "Flamer" by Mike Curato and "This Book Is Gay" by Juno Dawson.

Despite the clearly sexual nature of these books, Sec. Giannoulias insisted at the Senate hearing that he, the ALA, and others "are not advocating for kids to read porn." They simply want to prevent parents from eliminating cherished texts like Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" from school libraries.

However, when pressed on what he and his fellow panelists actually wanted from lawmakers, Giannoulias struggled to articulate their goal. "We are advocating for parents, random parents, not to have the ability, under the guise of keeping kids safe, to try and challenge the worldview of every single manner on these issues," he replied.

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