The other month, my local comic shop posted that they’d received copies of the updated, deluxe hardcover edition of Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer. I raced over to the shop to pick up a copy, even though I’d just re-read the book in egalley form the week prior. The new cover was gorgeous, the new intro from Nate Stevenson made me a little weepy, and the book itself was just as amazing as I’d remembered, so I wanted a hard copy for my shelf. I imagined myself reading it with my child someday, when she was a little bit older. It is such a fantastic and helpful account of what it can feel like to grapple with gender and sexuality.
Within an hour of returning home, I saw a post on Book Riot about how Virginia politicians were suing Oni Press and Kobabe because the book allegedly flouted the state’s obscenity laws. I already knew Gender Queer was fast becoming one of the most widely banned titles in the country, but seeing that post as I cradled my brand new copy in my arms, I felt especially outraged, like an overprotective mama bear.
We already know that book bannings have been a lot this year, so much so that Book Riot has been releasing weekly roundups of censorship-related news, in addition to other standalone posts on the topic. As someone who does work in the area of sex ed advocacy, I’m especially agitated. What the majority of these book bans have in common is their focus on diversity, inclusion, and sexuality… lessons our kids really need more of in their lives.