Author Of Infamous ‘Gender Queer’ Book: ‘I Don’t Recommend This Book For Kids’

"I don’t recommend this book for kids!"
"Gender Queer," a graphic novel about a nonbinary teen sits on a table during the Barrington District 220 school board meeting on Aug. 16, 2022, in Barrington. The book is a 2019 graphic memoir written and illustrated by Maia Kobabe. (H. Rick Bamman/Pioneer Press/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
H. Rick Bamman/Pioneer Press/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The author of “Gender Queer,” the graphic novel with explicit sexual content that has shown up in public school libraries across the country, outraging parents, is saying her book is not actually for kids.

Last week, author Maia Kobabe, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns “e, em and eir,” explained that while her book might be appropriate for “older teens,” she does not recommend it for children.

“It keeps being called a children’s book … but I think that’s coming from a misreading of the comic-book 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 teens who were already asking these questions about themselves. I don’t recommend this book for kids!” she told The Washington Post in an interview published last week.

“Gender Queer” includes illustrations of sex between two males with a sex toy, oral sex, masturbation, and other sexually explicit content.

Kobabe was reacting to Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) reading some of “Gender Queer’s” most graphic passages during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday last week.

The committee hearing was looking at a new Illinois law that blocks funding to libraries that remove books from their collections. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed the book ban bill in June in front of a shelf of contested books, including “Gender Queer.”

At the hearing, the 71-year-old senator read directly from the book, “I got a new strap-on harness today. I can’t wait to put it on you. It will fit my favorite dildo perfectly. You’re going to look so hot. I can’t wait to have your c**k in my mouth. I’m going to give you the blow job of your life. Then I want you inside of me.”

“The words you spoke are disturbing, especially coming out of your mouth, it’s very disturbing,” Illinois Secretary of State Alexander Giannoulias responded to Kennedy.

In the Washington Post’s interview of Kobabe, the interviewer acknowledged that she would not give “Gender Queer” to “a grade-schooler in my life.”

“But I could see recommending it to my kid if they were 17,” the Washington Post columnist told Kobabe. “If they were looking into chest binding, for example — I’d rather they learn about how to do it safely, as you discuss in the book, instead of winging it.”

Chest binding is a practice where gender dysphoric biological girls or women use a tight undergarment to compress their breasts in order to look flat-chested. Binding can cause a litany of negative effects including rib fractures, shortness of breath, and chronic back and chest pain.

Kobabe responded by suggesting that reading “Gender Queer” could be a better option for “young readers” than Googling answers.

“Many books that are being challenged often wrestle with a difficult topic, like historical atrocities, or experiences of racism, or something dealing with sexual health. … I would rather young readers encounter information in books than in random unstructured Googling,” Kobabe said.

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