“Gender Queer” author Maia Kobabe reacted when a Republican senator read a sexually explicit passage from the book during a Senate hearing, saying the book is not recommended for “children.”
Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, read several explicit books found in public schools across the country last Tuesday. One of the titles was Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel that has caused controversy among parents and has been criticized for its depictions of sexual acts and discussions of masturbation. It was the most banned book in 2021, according to the American Library Association.
Kennedy read an explicit passage from “Gender Queer” at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that went viral. Kobabe reacted to Kennedy’s reading in an interview with the Washington Post on Thursday.
“I have seen the clip. Another transactivist friend texted me with a very ‘Congratulations and I’m sorry too’ attitude,” Kobabe said.
“[T]Initially, the goal of comics was to be a tool to help me come out to my own family. A way of saying: ‘This is what I mean when I talk about gender. Pronouns are the tip of the iceberg,” said Kobabe, who uses the pronouns “e/em/eir.”
The Washington Post asked: “The way protesters have described the book online makes it seem like it is aimed at 6-year-olds.”
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., read several explicit books on the Senate floor last TuesdayFOX
‘Gender Queer’ author Maia Kobabe uses “e/em/eir” pronouns MLive/YouTube
‘Gender Queer’ was originally published in 2019
Kobabe responded: “They keep calling it a children’s book. Senator Kennedy implied that it was a children’s book. But I think that’s due to a misunderstanding of the comic form. ‘Gender Queer’ is a comic, and in full color, but that doesn’t mean it’s for children. I originally wrote it for my parents and then for older teenagers who were already asking these questions about themselves. I do not recommend this book for children.”
FOX News Digital reached out to Kobabe representatives for comment and clarification on what ages the book is intended for and did not immediately receive a response.
Previously, Kobabe wrote an October 2021 op-ed in the Post titled “Schools are banning my book. But queer kids need queer stories,” which Kobabe at one point thought the book was for the “middle school and up” age group. High school age is generally between 14 and 18 years old.
“When I was on tour in 2019, I was asked many times: ‘What age reader do you recommend this book for?’ I would usually answer, ‘High school and up,’ but the truth is that the readers I primarily wrote for were my own parents and family,” Kobabe wrote for the Post.
In May 2022, Kobabe was interviewed by the New York Times. The newspaper wrote that Kobabe “envisioned the memoir would appeal primarily to young adults who had also struggled with gender identity, and to friends and family of nonbinary people. The book’s publisher, Lion Forge, marketed it to teens and older adults.”
In an interview with Pen America in May 2023, Kobabe said, “If I had a book to read like this, specifically, when I was a freshman in high school, it would have saved me years of questions and confusion about my identity.” , and it really could have helped me figure out who I was and how I wanted to interact with people around the world and who I wanted to be much sooner. “I didn’t really notice those things until I was in my twenties.”