National Teachers Union Recommends Explicit Book ‘Gender Queer’ in Educators’ Reading List

National Teachers Union Recommends Explicit Book ‘Gender Queer’ in Educators’ Reading List
LGBT political activists participate in a dance protest of the group Moms for Liberty in Philadelphia on July 1, 2023. (Beth Brelje/Epoch Times)
Naveen Athrappully

The National Education Association (NEA) is recommending that educators read “Gender Queer,” a controversial memoir in the form of a graphic novel that contains sexually explicit content and discussion of adult topics.

“Gender Queer” has attracted mass protests from parents who have demanded its exclusion from public school libraries over its visual depictions of sexual acts and the sexual content in the story itself. In June, the largest teachers union in the United States, the NEA, added the book to its list of “Great Summer Reads for Educators.”
In an interview with NPR in January, “Gender Queer” author Maia Kobabe defended the graphic imagery and discussion in the book.

“I honestly think the book is a lot less explicit than it could be,” Kobabe said. The book details the author’s self-exploration of gender identity and sexuality.

“Gender Queer” has topped the American Library Association’s (ALA) list of most challenged books in the country in recent years.

Another controversial book on the NEA’s summer reading list for educators is “White Fragility,” which explores “why White people are so bad at talking about racism,” according to the NEA. The book promotes the ideology of critical race theory, a Marxist framework that claims America is systemically racist.

The NEA’s decision has attracted criticism online.

“This is who we’re up against in our fight against indoctrination in K–12 classrooms,” Nicki Neily, founder of the nonprofit Parents Defending Education, said in a July 4 tweet about the NEA’s inclusion of “Gender Queer” on its recommended reading list.

Charlie Kirk, conservative activist and founder of nonprofit Turning Point USA, said in a July 6 tweet that the NEA was endorsing “racist anti-white screeds” and graphic sexual imagery.

“Dissolve the teacher unions,” Kirk said.

LGBT Indoctrination at Schools

“Gender Queer” was first published in May 2019. It won multiple awards, including the Alex Award from the ALA in 2020 for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18.”

The book was also selected as the Stonewall-Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award Honor Book in 2020.

As school librarians began to stock the book, parents began to call for its removal. In September 2021, Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia pulled the book from libraries. A Florida school district soon followed. Other schools in New Jersey, Ohio, Washington, Texas, and Rhode Island also saw challenges against the book.

In an earlier interview with The Epoch Times, Suzanne Gallager, president of Parents Rights in Education, blamed the “gay lobby” for pushing sexually explicit content in educational institutions. “They’re putting all these LGBTQ books on these reading lists.”

“If it’s illegal for a neighbor to show this to my child, why should it be legal for a teacher to show it to my child?” she asked.

Another parent, Jennifer Heine-Withee, told The Epoch Times that parents are “concerned about both the theme and content of the books they are finding in their kid’s school library. … This is a widespread agenda to indoctrinate children, and it is being fought on several fronts.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin criticized the NEA for including “Gender Queer” in the reading list for educators.

“This is the same NEA that counseled Biden to keep schools shut for an extended period of time. And it’s the same NEA that said that parents, in fact, were on the verge of being terrorists, showing up at school board meetings. This is who is recommending what books to read for our kids. It’s unprecedented,” he said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday.

“The challenge we’ve got today is that there have been politicians and bureaucrats and the teachers associations and unions who believe that they are more important in kids lives than parents,” Youngkin said.

Lawrence Wilson contributed to this report.
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
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