FCPS Parent Tries to Ban Gay Romance Books

Lecya Santiago, Section Editor

After a heated discussion between parents, Fairfax County Public Schools pulled the books Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison after being deemed too inappropriate for schools due to the sexual themes and images depicted in the book.

Image by Zainab Rentia.

On September 23, the FCPS school board held a meeting at which Stacy Langdon demanded to be heard, citing a passage called inappropriate by the officials themselves. Her reading created a lengthy discussion on whether children (specifically high schoolers) should be allowed to read and have these books readily available. The school system responded by launching an in-depth review of the material. School officials have placed the books on suspension to look closely at their subject matter.

Lisa Muir, Woodson’s librarian, noted that the school strictly follows a “collection policy” that determines what’s appropriate and what is allowed to be shown to students, including a section on having books be appropriate for the grade level. Mrs. Muir stated that the FCPS schools could do nothing, considering it became a school board matter and was no longer being contained within the schools.

More parents spoke up, even from outside the state of Virginia, and were shocked to see the sexual themes presented without their knowledge. In Texas, parents were surprised to see how easily their children could access material they found to be mature. However, the publisher seems to disagree with that sentiment. Gender Queer was praised by Oni Press as a novel about self-discovery and growing up.

Ultimately, the final call from upset parents is that the books should not be available to teenagers, despite their awards and praise, because of their depiction of sexual themes.