The national debate over book censorship is playing out in the Chicago suburbs.
Last week, students and attendees at a school district meeting in Downers Grove argued about whether the graphic novel “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe” should be kept in school libraries.
The memoir is about the author’s journey to coming out as nonbinary and has been criticized for having what some call explicit content. Supporters say it’s not only affirming for students, but is also protected by the First Amendment.
“When we discuss these things, we have to resolve it in favor of individual choice –whether that’s guidance form the parent or the young person themselves,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. “To remove these materials from their hands is really a denial of their agency and lives as individuals.”
Libraries should reflect the lives and interests of everyone who lives in the community – not just some groups that have the loudest voice, she added.
“Chicago Tonight” invited groups that oppose the novel in schools, but representatives were unavailable or did not respond.