UPDATE, 1:31 p.m. Sept. 30: The authors of two books that mother Stacy Langton said contain "pedophilia" have contested the accusation.
Jonathan Evison, author of "Lawn Boy," told the Washington Post that his book doesn't describe or contain pedophilia. He added to the paper that the excerpt getting attention in the news involves an adult recalling a sexual encounter he had with another fourth-grader when he also was in the fourth grade. It appears that is the scene Langton read to the Fairfax County school board.
Here's what the Post said about the controversy surrounding the other book Langton pointed out:
Parents in Texas and Virginia have alleged that two specific images in "Gender Queer" constitute pedophilia. One of the images shows the adult author engaging in fellatio with a romantic partner who is also an adult, while the author wears a dildo. The other image shows a sexual fantasy of the author's — in which an apparently teenage youth is about to engage in fellatio with an older, bearded man — that the book states was based on Plato's "Symposium."
"Symposium," a philosophical text, at one point details speeches on love given during a banquet — including an argument from one attendee that heavenly love can only occur between a man and a boy. "Gender Queer" provides no other information about the fantasy.
Asked about parents' claims, Kobabe wrote in a statement Tuesday that the image is based on an ancient Greek pottery cup that shows "a courting scene" and is on display at a museum in Oxford, England. Kobabe wrote that lessons on Greek classical art and culture in high school marked the "first time I can remember learning about LGBTQ+ people" and left a "big impression."
"I was so hungry for literally any type of queer representation," Kobabe also wrote, according to the paper. "I devoured every queer movie, song lyric, fantasy novel, manga series, and yes, erotic Greek pottery painting I could find."
Original story below
After a Virginia mother exposed "pedophilia" last week in a pair of books from her child's high school library — and even read explicit passages to the school board — the district pulled the books from circulation until a committee can decide their final fate.
Fairfax County Public Schools will create two committees consisting of staff members, students, and parents — which the district's library services coordinator will lead — to examine the "suitability of both texts for inclusion in high school libraries," Patch reported, citing a district spokesperson.
What's the background?
At last Thursday's school board meeting, Stacy Langton held up copies of "Lawn Boy" by Jonathan Evison and "Gender Queer: A Memoir" by Maia Kobabe — both of which Langton said she checked out from Fairfax High School's library — and told the board that "both of these books include pedophilia, sex between men and boys. ... One book describes a fourth-grade boy performing oral sex on an adult male. The other book has detailed illustrations of a man having sex with a boy."
Then Langton held up what appeared to be visual illustrations taken from one of the books — although the video camera does not show them — saying "the illustrations include fellatio, sex toys, masturbation, and violent nudity."
Langton then read to the board from what she said is Kobabe's book: "I can't wait to have your c**k in my mouth. I am going to give you the blowjob of your life, and then I want you inside me."
Next up was an excerpt from what she said is Evison's book: "What if I told you I touched another guy's d**k? What if I told you I sucked it? I was 10 years old, but it's true. I sucked Doug Goble's d**k, the real estate guy, and he sucked mine, too."
Raising her voice, Langton ripped into the school board: "This is not an oversight at Fairfax High School!"
'There are children in the audience here'
A couple of the board members heard enough and began interrupting Langton — and then one of them delivered to the fed-up mom what may be the tone-deaf comment of the year.
"There are children in the audience here," the board member warned Langton.
As opposed to the children with access to the books she outed to the board — but anyway, the crowd reacted angrily to the exasperating statement and began shouting at the board.
And Langton wasn't about to give up the fight — or her time for public comment.
"Do not interrupt my time! Do not interrupt my time!" she hollered at the board. "I will stand here until my time is restored and my time is finished! These books are in stock and available in the libraries of Robinson, Langely, and Annandale High Schools!"
A board member shot back: "For high school students, ma'am."
Langton continued, saying that "pornography is offensive to all people, it is offensive to common decency" before her mic was cut off.
Here's the video.
Content warning: Sexually explicit language:
Citizen Participation FCPS School Board Meeting - September 23, 2021 #DoBetterFCPS #FCPS
Board member mocks 'exorcisms' during public comment
School board member Karl Frisch — the " first openly LGBTQ+ local elected official in Fairfax County" — took to Twitter to mock what he called "exorcisms," presumably courtesy of Langton.
"It's not every week the School Board receives two exorcisms during public comment," he wrote. "To be clear, nothing will disrupt our Board's commitment to LGBTQIA+ students, families, and staff. Nothing."
But commenters took Frisch to task for his words:
- "This is not about being against LGBTQ, that is not the point. This is an EXPLICIT PORN book which even includes normalizing pedophilia!" one user noted. "You're OK with adults sexually abusing children?"
- "Those books are porn, Karl. As usual, you missed the point," another commenter said. "Dumbest. School. Board. Member. Ever."
- "These books are porn & pedophilia in Fairfax County HS libraries for students as young as 14. All porn, regardless of orientation, is inappropriate! Furthermore, pedophilia is a felony," another user said. "You should be ashamed of ignoring the cry to remove such trash from our high schools!"
- "Dear Karl, I understand your commitment, and it is just and society should always aim to be tolerant. However these books are a mistake if you apply an empirical rather than emotive approach," another commenter offered. "They are divisive and will fan the flames of bigots and degenerates, reflection required."
- "To be clear, parents will not stand for the promotion of pedophilia in their schools," another user declared. "You have an opportunity to proceed w/ some decency & denounce pedophilia. Instead you've used your platform here tonight to insult parents about their legitimate concerns."
This story has been updated with statements from the authors of the school library books in question.