I attended and participated in the three-hour public hearing of the library board meeting on March 16 that listened to public comment around the book Gender Queer. Unlike many who were objecting to the book, I read it first. This is not a children’s book and is in the adult section of the library. It is a memoir, the author/artist’s own story of their struggles to understand and accept themselves as a whole person and explore what that means to them. I found the book to be sympathetic and insightful. I understood more about someone else’s experience different from my own. It was not pornographic. The few panels that were anything close to explicit were not there for the excitement of the reader, which would fit the definition of pornography, but for understanding their story. I found it to be a courageously honest story. It is in the adult section of library. I feel the need to repeat that. Perhaps the letter writer from last week’s paper was not aware that the graphic novel format is an expanding area in grown up literature now. The author has said the intended audience is older teens and young adults (not preteens or young teens). As for exploitation, using children for political purposes could be considered exploitative. There is an ongoing national trend toward intolerance of gay and other nonconforming folks in a perceived “culture war,” often in the name of protecting children. And who could possibly argue with protecting children? Which makes this an insidious argument. The writer of last week’s letter asked how this book is not exploitative of children. It is Not a children’s book, Not in the children’s section of the library. The fact that it is pictorial does not make it a children’s book. I applaud the library director for considering the whole of the public that the library serves and standing up to efforts by some to jump on a bandwagon of intolerance and fear.
— Miriam Marcus