Facebook Censors Article for Including Image Some Kids Can Find in their School Library

library - Article on Gender Queer censored
Kid in library | Image by diignat

On February 21, The Dallas Express wrote and published a news article entitled “Dallas ISD Kindergarten Library Home to Pornographic Novel,” which examined a complaint made by a Dallas citizen about the book Gender Queer.

The next day, the story was also posted to Facebook and boosted. Shortly after, the boost was denied and flagged as inappropriate because it contained “adult content.”

“The ad isn’t running because it includes an image or video depicting people performing seductive or implied sexual acts,” one message from Facebook read.

“Ads must not contain adult content including nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative,” read a second message from the social media network.

They explained the boost was denied because they could not promote things “that are highly regulated or contain explicit sexual themes,” read the last message.

Screen Shot 2022-02-23 at 9.39.28 AM

The picture in question is one taken directly from the pages of the graphic novel (and censored, we might add), which depicts the protagonist of Gender Queer engaged in simulated felatio with another character.

Interestingly, though Facebook would not allow The Dallas Express’ story to run on their platform, Gender Queer is for sale on Facebook with a link to an offsite bookstore.

Gender Queer, written by Maia Kobabe, won an ‘Alex Award’ and a ‘Stonewall Book Award’ in 2020.

Gender Queer is still listed as an available book in the libraries of multiple schools, including the Barack Obama Academy, which hosts kindergarten through eighth grade.

Last October, Texas Republican State Representative Matt Krause wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency asking the state’s schools to disclose if they have any of the books in a sixteen-page list, and the amount of money spent on them. One of the titles in the list was Gender Queer.

On November 1, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on the state’s school boards to remove books he described as “pornographic.”

“It’s still very surreal to see Gender Queer on lists like this,” Maia Kobabe, the book’s author, stated on their Facebook page. The page contained a link to a story titled “Read the Books That Schools Want to Ban” that was featured in The Atlantic on February 1.

Barnes and Noble lists the book as appropriate for ages 15 years and up, while Amazon rates it suitable for readers starting at age 18.

Amazon customer “Ker Ker” – a verified purchaser —  said, “ [I] bought this book after my teen requested it. I researched it, but couldn’t find any content to view. Purchased it & got a disturbing surprise (SIC). Very graphic ‘comic’ style book about one person’s sexual experiences. I’m 49, it left images I understood but didn’t want to see. Not recommended. Returned quickly for refund.”

The one-star review was marked as “helpful” by 595 people on Amazon. But not everyone gave such a scathing review of the graphic novel.

“Such a clear and warm and wonderful sharing of the feelings of the author around gender and sexuality. Read it!! Your eyes will be opened wider, and your understanding will grow! I assure you,” Barnes and Noble customer Liz Frances said.

Last November, parents and students clashed at a school board meeting in Downers Grove, Ill., over Gender Queer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Terry Newsome, a father of two children at Downers Grove South High School, said the book is “liberal code for teaching children how to perform” sex acts, adding, “It’s not your right to decide if our minor children should have access to pornography.”

In contrast, Lauren Pierret, a senior at Downers Grove North High School, said, “Let’s not present getting rid of Gender Queer as censoring our children from sex. It’s homophobia.”

Gay Patrick, Director of Library Media Services at DISD, told The Dallas Express that the librarians in DISD libraries where Gender Queer is shelved are “reevaluating the book to check the book’s age appropriateness.”

The Dallas Express sent a list of questions to Patrick and each Dallas ISD School Board trustee. Some of the questions included:

  • Do you consider this to be pornographic? (Included was the image from the book that can be seen in the original article.)
  • On the Dallas ISD Library website, Gender Queer is listed as “Target Audience: YA Children’s Plus, Incorporated,” andContent Rating: Juvenile.” Who at Dallas ISD determines or oversees Target Audience and Content Rating?
  • Is material like what is found in Gender Queer appropriate for students grades K-through-8?
  • Has the book been reevaluated? Are Facebook’s rules and standards regarding sexually graphic materials stricter than those at Dallas ISD libraries?

Despite multiple requests for comment, The Dallas Express received no response.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article