BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa Central School District school board voted to uphold the decision by both the superintendent and a separate review committee which found that the controversial book “Gender Queer” should remain in the high school library.
The board voted 6-1 at its meeting Wednesday evening to uphold the decisions; board member Lawrence Ryan voted against the resolution.
Ryan said while the book had many positive attributes, it did not belong in a high school library due to some of its content, which those in favor of removing it called obscene and pornographic.
“While this book, ‘Gender Queer,’ is unique in that it is a graphic novel written as a autobiographical memoir on the topic of non-binary gender identity and asexualism, that does not mean its uniqueness allows it to contain inappropriate age material for the high school population as young as 14 years old,” he said.
The 2019 graphic memoir written by Maia Kobabe explores gender identity through Kobabe’s journey of coming out and is currently the most banned book in the U.S.
Megan Soden of Ballston Spa said the book isn’t age appropriate for high school students, noting the author said it was for adults. Amazon lists it as being for people 18 and older and a review board in Australia also indicated that it was inappropriate for children under 15.
“Just because we can have this book in our libraries doesn’t mean we should,” she said.
The book is listed on Barnes & Nobles’ website as being for people 15 and older. The typical age of a high school student is anywhere from 14 to 18 years old.
A New York Times article from May 2022 states that the author imagined to the book would appeal to young adults, but also anyone who “wrestled with gender identity and to friends and family of nonbinary people.”
Tim Bantham of Ballston Spa was one of many people at the meeting who spoke in support of keeping the book in the library.
“The subject matter of this book literally could save the life of a gender non-conforming teenager who might feel a sense of comfort knowing they are not alone in how they view the world around them,” he said.
Board member Julia Routbort Baskin said the book can speak to many students, including anyone who has been uncomfortable with their body.
“While I understand and appreciate the concerns about the explicit sexual content that is in some pages of the book, to cherry pick that out of the many pages of the book I think does the book a disservice and I think our high school students are more than mature enough to handle this kind of content,” she said.
Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected].
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We need more people with common sense on these school boards, liberalism is a mental disorder.
I’m sure the kids will be lined up out the door waiting to get their sweaty hands on it.
Oh wait, that’s their parents with the sweaty hands, lined up outside the door…