Education Reform

The NEA Recommends the Book Gender Queer, So I Read It.

Gender Queer is considered the most banned book in America. At least 138 school districts in 32 states have banned the book from their libraries. But let’s be clear from the beginning: This does not mean the book is forbidden or that you cannot find it anywhere. You can still get the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and at most public libraries. It’s even in those little free library boxes in more affluent neighborhoods, which is where I found my copy. I’m glad I didn’t have to buy it.

“Banned” Books

“Banning” Gender Queer does not attack free speech as the Left often decries. This is a debate on what is appropriate literature to place in front of the eyes of our children in public schools. Our societal rules have always maintained a certain standard of censorship to protect the eyes of innocent children from openly sexual and debased content. It’s why we have movie ratings.

The 32 states working to ban the book may seem like a victory, but it isn’t. That’s too low of a bar to consider it a victory. This book should be banned from our schools nationwide. Furthermore, the book should have never been in our K–12 schools in the first place.

Yet left-leaning school boards and districts are fighting to keep the book in their schools. In Maine, school board members voted 5-3 to keep the book in the Leavitt High School Library. In Illinois, a high school librarian was making videos on TikTok about how the book can be found in the Lanphier High School Library. Another school board in Chicago voted unanimously to keep the book on school shelves. The Chicago Sun-Times ran the headline “Suburban Chicago School Board Keeps, ‘Gender Queer’ Book That Conservative Parents, Proud Boys Want Banned,” thus associating the idea of banning the book as only being proposed by conservatives and those the Left labels “extremists” and “hate groups.”

NEA Summer Reading List

The National Education Association (NEA) recently recommended that teachers put Gender Queer on their summer reading list. The NEA is the largest teachers union in America, with around 3 million members. This is no small group of teachers, and they are suggesting that all their members read the book. (They are also recommending the racist book White Fragility, but we will save that for a later post.) The union wants teachers to celebrate the “freedom to read,” in contrast to the recent “book bans,” and shared a quote from a high school librarian about how she “hated reading” until she was in high school and a friend gave her a banned book. It doesn’t matter what smut they consume as long as they are reading. That’s their position—as if you are anti-reading if you aren’t pro-porn in grade schools.

Since I am a former public school teacher, I thought I would take the NEA’s summer assignment to read Gender Queer. As mentioned earlier, I found a free copy in an outdoor mini library of a left-leaning town in California (but I repeat myself). I thought perhaps I was taking the graphic images shared online from the book out of context, as the Left often asserts in their defense of the book. Maybe it’s a lot more innocent and wholesome than what the viral images from the book depict. It took me less than an hour to read. After enduring the full context, I assure you that it is far more disturbing than you can imagine.

The book Gender Queer is an autobiography and graphic novel about a young woman’s journey to realizing she is non-binary, asexual, and now has the pronouns e/eir. Whatever that means. If you can’t keep up, asexual means you identify as neither a man nor a woman. The best way to describe the book is it’s like stepping into the mind of a sexuality-obsessed narcissist who wants to share all the intimate details of her twisted sex life with young children. It wasn’t a pleasant hour of reading.

Porn for Public Schools

Let me apologize beforehand as I go on to share the details.

To give you an idea, one page talks about tasting your own “vagina slime” and has an image of the main character looking at her finger with white stuff on it. Another page talks about how the author used to masturbate with a sock in her pants so she could fantasize about having a penis. The main page that has gone viral depicting what looks like two men giving each other oral sex is actually two women and one has a strap-on dildo, giving each other oral sex.

Are you shocked yet, learning about what is actually in this book? You should be. We should all be shocked that these books are being placed in our children’s schools. I earmarked several graphic and disturbing pages; there were over 20.

It has been hard for me to process just how obscene and disturbing this book is, but we must face the unpleasant truth in order to keep working to ban it nationwide. I’m hoping that someday this time will become a discarded relic of history, part of a baffling mystery of a time past when the Left decided it was okay to put pornography in our government grade schools—that we will no longer have to do these fights. But that is a future we have yet to make.

Imagine you let your underage teen go to an adult neighbor’s house, and they come back and tell you that the neighbor was sharing with them about how they masturbate, have sexual fantasies, and details of their first time using a strap-on dildo. Would you be okay with that? No, you would call the police. Then why are we allowing this type of content in our schools? This should be everyone’s battle. Not just the right, not just the Proud Boys, not just parents. This should be the battle of all of us who care about protecting the innocence of our nation’s children. Sadly, that does not include the NEA.

Kali Fontanilla

Kali is serving as CRC’s Senior fellow, particularly focusing on topics related to K-12 public education. She has 15 years of experience as a credentialed educator working in public and…
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