Harlem School Board bans ‘Gender Queer’ book

A packed board meeting Monday night sparked debate over book removal.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It’s an opposition that turned a Harlem High School board meeting into a battleground Monday night, as divided crowds argued the availability of a book on sexual orientation and gender identity in the school library.

“Gender Queer” is one of eight books brought to the board’s attention. Some community members say their children are being wrongfully exposed to pornographic language and pictures.

“It’s porn. Were talking incest, molestation and pedophilia,” said Lynette Hofman.

An autobiography about a journey of gender identity, pictures of sexual acts draws the bulk of the ire. Some call the content indecent while one woman read an excerpt from it:

“This is from gender queer, ‘I got a new strap-on harness today’,” said one public commenter. “‘I can’t wait to put it on you.”

But other students and parents disagree. They see the book as a helpful resource.

“When I saw them (LGBTQ+ community) represented in the media, I finally didn’t feel alone anymore,” said one public commenter. “And it was the best moment in my whole life.”

Other students believe banning the book is censorship, saying it ostracizes teens from the LGBTQ+ community from being able to relate; which they claim is a tool that can save lives.

“If we’re going to shut these out, we’re kind of telling kids that some voices are worth hearing, and other voices are worth being silenced,” said Harlem High School Librarian, Leah Krippner.

Several schools across the country tried to ban the book, including a district in Texas. It temporarily removed from the library while it’s reviewed.

The other seven books brought to the board’s attention will stay on the shelves.

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