It’s easy to ridicule Florida for all its feverish urges to ban sexy books, but America’s latest obsession with censorship has truly gone nationwide. Towards the end of last year, in deeply blue, liberal Massachusetts (at W.E.B. DuBois Middle School no less!) Great Barrington police responded to a complaint about the oft-targeted Gender Queer by sending a plain clothes officer INTO THE CLASSROOM to search for the book.
Yes, an agent of the state entered a school to confiscate books; as close to a textbook definition of censorship as you can get. As usual, none of the usual cast of free speech grifters on the right said anything (they’re all too busy shutting down speech on college campuses), but local students stood up and protested. According to The Berkshire Eagle:
LGBTQIA + teens who have been beaten, or attacked with slurs and other indignities organized a walkout at Monument Mountain Regional High School to talk about it. More than 100 students and staff gathered outside the school to protest a police officer’s search for the illustrated novel, “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, in a eighth-grade middle school classroom this month after someone — who remains anonymous — complained that the book contains pornographic images.
Most of us here at Lit Hub have book-banning fatigue, at this point; the last couple years of cynical, well-funded culture war activism is enough to make anyone despair of the American project. But so long as teenagers can muster the anger and courage to protest, so must we.