‘Gender Queer’ author Maia Kobabe reacted to a Republican senator reading a sexually explicit passage from the book during a Senate hearing, saying it was not recommended for ‘children’ .
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., read several explicit books found in public schools across the country last Tuesday. One of the titles was Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel that sparked controversy among parents and criticism for its depictions of sexual acts as well as its discussions of masturbation. It was the most banned book in 2021, according to the American Library Association.
Kennedy read an explicit passage from “Gender Queer” during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that went viral. Kobabe reacted to Kennedy’s reading in an interview with the Washington Post on Thursday.
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“I saw the clip. Another trans-activist friend texted it to me with a very ‘Congratulations and also I’m sorry’ attitude,” Kobabe said.
“(T)he purpose of the comics was initially to be a tool to help me come out to my own family. A way to say, ‘This is what I’m talking about when I speak pronouns are the tip of the iceberg,” said Kobabe, who uses “e/em/eir” pronouns.
The Washington Post asked: “The way protesters have described the book online – they make it seem like it’s being marketed to 6-year-olds. »
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Kobabe responded: “It keeps calling it a children’s book. Senator Kennedy suggested it was a children’s book. But I think that comes from a misunderstanding of the comic book form. “Gender Queer” is a comic, and in color, but that doesn’t mean it’s for kids. I originally wrote it for my parents, and then for older teenagers who were already wondering these questions about themselves. I do not recommend this book to children!”
FOX News Digital reached out to Kobabe representatives for comment to clarify what ages the book is aimed at and did not immediately receive a response.
Previously, Kobabe wrote an October 2021 opinion piece in the Post titled “Schools Ban My Book.” But Queer Kids Need Queer Stories” in which Kobabe at one point thought the book was aimed at the “high school and up” age group. The age of high school students is generally between 14 and 18 years old.
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“When I was on a book tour in 2019, I was asked several times, ‘What age reader do you recommend this book for?’ I would usually answer ‘High school and above,’ but the truth is that the readers I primarily wrote it for were my own parents and extended family,” Kobabe wrote for the Post.
In May 2022, Kobabe was interviewed by The New York Times. The newspaper wrote that Kobabe “imagined the memoir would appeal primarily to young adults who have also struggled with their gender identity, as well as friends and families of non-binary people. The book’s publisher, Lion Forge, said marketed to adolescents and older adults.”
In an interview with Pen America in May 2023, Kobabe said, “If I had a book to read like this, especially when I was a freshman in high school, it would have saved me years of questioning and confusion about my identity, and could have really helped me understand who I was and how I wanted to interact with people around the world and who I wanted to be much earlier. I didn’t really understand this stuff until my late twenties. ”
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