“Gender Queer” Aimed at Grade 9 and Up-“Unhealthy, Dangerous, Poorly Written”

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Carmen Cuthbertson wrote the following Op-Ed for Montana Daily Gazette.

Cuthbertson was the person who filled out the original complaint about ImagineIF (Flathead County) library regarding the book entitled “Gender Queer.” She spoke about the book on December 2nd (last Thursday) and will do so in the future.

“My name is Carmen Cuthbertson, and I have read “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, the entire book, from beginning to end. I encourage anyone who wants to participate in a discussion of this graphic novel to do the same. It takes about an hour to read, so it’s no big deal.”

Cuthbertson spoke at last Thursday’s board meeting and shared the following.

“If you don’t have access to the book, the couple of enlargements I put up on the wall here will give you at least a taste of what the book is like.

(We have left out images inside the book as they are highly graphic but here is a picture of the outer cover of the book)-Montana Daily Gazette Staff

Gender Queer: A Memoir
The book in question-

Actually, I would love it if those commenting on the book challenge were held to the same standard as those who have filled out a Citizen Comment Form. The form asks whether people have read or viewed the material in its entirety. When you get up here to speak today, please let everyone know whether you have read the book or not. I can’t take people’s comments seriously if they haven’t, and I’m assuming the library can’t either; otherwise, they wouldn’t ask this question on their comment form.

“Gender Queer” is a poorly written memoir without any story arc or character arc. It is a sad collection of unhappy memories, neither set along a timeline nor grounded around a group of people. It reflects the unsettled state of mind of a troubled person who searches in vain for self-acceptance. Throughout her life, the author/protagonist persists in a fruitless search for meaning in superficial things like clothing and how others address her, never realizing that true confidence must come from within.

The book offers no help to someone struggling with similar issues. The author never arrives at a point of happiness and remains alone and tormented throughout. It is sad that this person received no help from her parents, the medical profession, close friends, or a psychologist to gain a healthy sense of self.

“Gender Queer” portrays behaviors as common-place, harmless, or even positive that I find legally, medically, and psychologically questionable, especially in light of the fact that the graphic novel format is aimed at a young readership.

A professional review by the American Library Journal recommends the book for grades nine and up. The claim made by the Library Director that the book is not aimed at young people because it is shelved in the adult section is laughable since library staff will proudly tell you that they don’t prevent anyone from checking out any book.

Here are some examples of content I consider damaging to the health and well-being of the target audience: gay porn on page 117, pedophilia on page 135, sexting on page 166, Testosterone therapy on page 174, puberty blockers on page 185, breast binding on page 211, and top surgery on page 213, which for those not familiar with transgender lingo is the removal of two perfectly healthy breasts.

Particularly troubling from a medical standpoint is the portrayal of a pap smear as a horrible stabbing on page 221, that results in a bloody speculum and is perceived by the author as such a traumatic experience that she heroically vows never to have another one. A pap smear is the best screening tool we have for cervical cancer and I would not want to scare any young woman away from having this potentially life-saving procedure.

Breast binding must be incredibly painful and causes lasting tissue damage. Puberty blockers and testosterone therapy lead to irreversible physical changes and infertility. Top surgery amounts to a voluntary double mastectomy, an act of self-mutilation that is presented in this book as something to aspire to. I can’t imagine anyone in this room wanting this horror to happen to their own daughter.

All of these life-altering activities are presented as innocuous or even desirable, and there is zero critical reflection on long-term consequences.

I’m grateful that his book was not available when my daughter was going through puberty, and I’m deeply concerned that reading it could steer a susceptible young girl in our community in the direction of permanent physical damage. Issues like the ones raised in this book need adult supervision and trained medical intervention and should only be considered as an absolute last resort in extreme circumstances. Portraying them as harmless, as this book does, is reckless.

I’m in favor of removing this book from the library, not because it is a book about a genderqueer person, but because it is a poorly written, childishly illustrated jumble of nightmarish recollections that blithely dispenses medically questionable advice to a vulnerable and insecure teen audience.

As a side note, it is melodramatic and ridiculous to consider such a removal book banning. The library constantly selects, rejects, removes, and adds material, and it is appropriate that the people who foot the bill, the tax-paying citizens of Flathead County, have a say in the selection process.

If not having “Gender Queer” on the shelf at our library is book banning, then the library staff has banned thousands of books. They can’t possibly buy every book that gets published. Is each book they don’t buy, each book that is not in our library, a banned book?

Or do you call a book banned if you can’t get it for free at your local library? Based on that definition, Flathead County has banned cars, because it’s not providing you a free one to use, and you actually have to go buy one for yourself.

A book is not banned if you are free to buy it on amazon.

It is equally ludicrous to accuse someone of book banning when they’re following the official complaint procedure put forth by the library itself. Why have a complaint policy if the public is not supposed to question the selection of books? Are the librarians at our County Library infallible? Do they never make a mistake? Do they never pick a crummy book? Well, I think they did pick a crummy book when they chose to purchase “Gender Queer”, and I hope the Board will carefully reevaluate this ill-considered choice.”




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2 COMMENTS

  1. It has become obvious that hell has opened her mouth and darkness is trying to steal our children and our posterity. The enslavement to the medical industrial complex through artificial drugs and surgical mutalations is a lifestyle of destruction and death.

    To give hope from a person who has escaped the jaws of this horror, please read the testimony of David Arthur here: http://www.ibelongamen.com/

    Because some parents of children are being bullied into going along with these so-called experts, our nation is becoming as Sodom, where even the children came to rape Lot’s visitors. Genesis 19:4

    Those who struggle with this issue are NEVER told that genetically and physically they will NEVER actually become the opposite sex. The results of the self-mutilation do not function as the real thing and Bruce Jenner will ALWAYS be male. Our DNA is written like a book, God authored it, it is the book of prophecy that determines what sex, eye color, when puberty starts, the color of your skin, hair, familial traits, like if you will go bald, etc… He said don’t add to, or take away from it. Revelation 22:18-19

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