Opinion: Gender Queer book should have no place at ORR

Jan 2, 2023

To the editor:

Gender Queer is not a “regular” book with text. It is a 240-page graphic novel (like a large comic book), and its explicit illustrations of sex acts – which are arguably pornographic – should have no place in any school in ORR.

I read Gender Queer from cover to cover. Now, proponents of this book claim that it’s important that gender-questioning kids see themselves represented in literature. OK, but is this the representation and future we want to show them? A future with sex toys, hook-ups with strangers on dating apps, self-loathing, and sexual dysfunction? That’s not my interpretation. It’s the author’s own story in illustrations.

How insulting. How degrading and demeaning it is to expose our kids – no matter what their orientation is – to a book like this.

What is the message of this book? Well, it certainly isn’t that everyone is loved at school and that students are welcome and accepted for who they are. No, this book is the very opposite of that.

And up until now, no one would ever think of handing a child a book with such graphic illustrations of sex acts. If they did, they’d probably go to prison.

When did it suddenly become necessary and so urgent that kids be exposed to books like this? I never had books like this. You never had books like this.

Defenders of this book have also claimed that removing Gender Queer from ORR schools is somehow “book banning.” Well, I hate to break the news, but we already ban certain books in schools. ORR does not carry the Kama Sutra, and we don’t keep copies of The Joy of Sex next to the Lego blocks in kindergarten.

Parents send their children to school expecting them to be safe from graphic illustrations of sex acts, and school leaders should respect this. Gender Queer should not be an exception.

Yes, we need to teach kids to accept each other for who they are, absolutely, but we can do this without crossing the line of giving out a narcissistic comic book with graphic illustrations of sex acts.

Let me be clear: I don’t hate anybody. I don’t fear anybody. I don’t want anybody to “go away,” as defenders of this book claim about people like me and others who are against this book.

By speaking out against this book, I am defending the dignity, the uniqueness, and, most importantly, the innocence of every child at ORR. And when I say every child, I mean every single child, no matter who they are or what their sexual orientation is.

This Gender Queer book isn’t loving, and it isn’t affirming in the least bit. It is degrading and damaging.

And how awful that the district is giving out this filth.

Get rid of this book from our schools.

David F. Pierre, Jr.,