South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has urged his state’s Department of Education to remove an “inappropriate” book on gender identity.
On Wednesday (November 11), McMaster (R) called for Maia Kobabe’s award-winning book Gender Queer: A Memoir to be recalled from shelves for its “obscene and pornographic” content.
In a letter addressed to the South California Department of Education and Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, McMaster petitioned for the book to be removed due to its “depictions”.
“For sexually explicit materials of this nature to have ever been introduced or allowed in South Carolina’s schools, it is obvious that there is or was either a lack of, or a breakdown in, any existing oversight processes or the absence of appropriate screening standards,” McMaster wrote.
Within the letter, the politician asked for an investigation to be carried out due to its appearance at a public high school in Fort Mill, South Carolina. McMaster and to “prevent” similar books from becoming available in the state’s school libraries.
Speaking to NBC News, the director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, Deborah Caldwell-Stone has noticed a “contestant” and “chilling” growth in bans against LGBTQ+ books and content.
“I’ve worked at ALA for two decades now, and I’ve never seen this volume of challenges come in,” Caldwell-Stone said.
“The impact will fall to those students who desperately want and need books that reflect their lives, that answer questions about their identity, about their experiences that they always desperately need and often feel that they can’t talk to adults about.”
“The library becomes that safe space where they can get accurate information about these topics that they can’t otherwise find,” she added.
McMaster’s call for a ban on LGBTQ+ books follows a trend of legislation targeting LGBTQ+ books. Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia’s largest school district, banned the gender identity book in September.
Brevard Public Schools, a school district in Florida, removed the book last month. The award-winning book has also faced backlash from parents in New Jersey after being labelled “perverse.”
LGBTQ+ advocates have shown support for Kobabe’s book and condemned McMaster’s actions as a “political attack.”
“We need to be focused on issues that are actually impacting students right now — getting education back on track after the loss of learning from the pandemic, addressing young people’s health concerns, and ensuring that everyone feels safe and welcome in school,” Ivy Hill, community health program director for the Campaign for Southern Equality, said in a statement.