Home Health LGBTQ-Themed Books Removed From Fairfax County HS Libraries | Falls Church, VA Patch – Patch

LGBTQ-Themed Books Removed From Fairfax County HS Libraries | Falls Church, VA Patch – Patch

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FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — Fairfax County Public Schools suspended circulation of two books in the libraries of high schools on Friday after community members complained about the sexual content of the books. Speakers told school board members the books describe pedophilia, but a review of the works shows no such content.
The two books, “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe and “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison, will be reviewed by the school system in response to the complaints.
The district will create two committees made up of staff members, students and parents led by the school system’s library services coordinator to look at the “suitability of both texts for inclusion in high school libraries,” an FCPS spokesperson said Monday.
The committees’ recommendation will then go to the district’s assistant superintendent of instructional services, who will make a final decision as to whether the school system will continue to allow the two books in its high school libraries, the spokesperson said.
Other community members view the campaign to remove the two books as another chapter in an ongoing effort to attack the county school system’s LBGTQ community.
In “Gender Queer,” Kobabe tells the story of growing up with a dislike for the female body. The graphic memoir uses text and illustrations, including of oral sex and masturbation, to tell the story of Kobabe’s journey from a confused girl to a nonbinary and asexual teenager who today does not identify as a man or a woman.
Near the end of the book, Kobabe writes about adopting the gender-neutral pronouns “e” for he/she, “em” for him/her and “eir” for his/her and the frustration when people do not use the chosen pronouns.
Evison’s “Lawn Boy” includes passages where the protagonist of the novel recalls engaging in oral sex with a fellow 10-year-old when they were in fourth grade.

But at last Thursday’s Fairfax County School Board meeting, one speaker, a former Fairfax County Public School teacher, told the school board that Evison’s book contains a passage where “an adult male character graphically describes engaging in fellatio with a male minor.”
The novel, however, does not include any depictions of adults engaging in sex with minors. A Patch editor read the novel and found it does not include any depictions of adults engaging in sex with minors.
Another speaker at the meeting, a mother of a student at Fairfax High School, claimed “both of these books include pedophilia, sex between men and boys.”
The parent also claimed Evison’s book “describes a fourth-grade boy performing oral sex on an adult male.” But nowhere in “Lawn Boy” is there a description of a fourth-grade boy performing oral sex on an adult male, according to a Patch editor’s review of the book.
Evison told Patch the book describes two fourth-graders experimenting sexually, “and the protagonist remembers it later in the process of his self-actualization.”
“There is absolutely no pedophilia,” Evison said. “Sexual experimentation in childhood has long been a common trope in YA [young adult] fiction. I think what bothers these folks is that it happens to be two boys, and it occurs at a church youth group meeting.”
In “Gender Queer,” Kobabe describes fantasizing about sex as a teenager by using Plato’s “Symposium,” a philosophical text, as a theme in those fantasies.
Within this context, Kobabe includes an illustration of a man and what appears to be a teenage male from Ancient Greece. In an attempt at self-arousal, Kobabe developed an “elaborate fantasy based on Plato’s Symposium.” In classical antiquity, writers such as Plato and others explored aspects of homosexuality in Greece.
The Pride Liberation Project, a group that represents LGBTQIA+ students in Fairfax County, said it was disappointed to see FCPS pull “Gender Queer” and “Lawn Boy” from the shelves of the school district’s libraries.
“Given the elevated rates of suicide, depression, and harassment Queer students face compared to our non-LGBTQIA+ peers, positive representation in our libraries can empower, protect, and affirm the existence of scores of FCPS students,” the Pride Liberation Project said in a statement. “By removing ‘Gender Queer’ and ‘Lawn Boy,’ an isolating message is sent to Queer students, especially when countless other books depict heterosexual relationships and physical intimacy in FCPS libraries.”
“There is no pedophilia in these books,” Robert Rigby Jr., co-president of FCPS Pride and a long-time teacher with FCPS, said in an interview with Patch.
“Whatever we think of the books, it is a created crisis,” Rigby said. “We had similar ‘crisis’ about books in FCPS libraries in 2001, 2005 and 2009. Unfortunately, this ‘controversy’ intentionally involves demonization of librarians, inclusive literature and the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Rigby said a student contacted him early Monday, upset that the county school system had removed “Gender Queer” and “Lawn Boy” from circulation in the libraries after the complaints at last week’s board meeting.
In response to the complaints about his book in Fairfax County and other jurisdictions across the country, Evison told Patch he is being “threatened, and harassed by people who have not read the book, or even managed to properly contextualize it.”

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