Missing The Point: What The Great Barrington Gender Queer Controversy Gets Wrong

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/01/04/missing-the-point-what-the-great-barrington-gender-queer-controversy-gets-wrong/

Almost a month after it happened, the firestorm around an incident at a Great Barrington middle school is still raging.

Yet no one has asked the obvious question or made the obvious point.

On December 8, 2023, an anonymous tipster complained to police that a teacher at W.E.B. Du Bois Regional Middle School had shown a sexually explicit book to students. An officer walked through the classrooms, searching for the book. He wasn’t able to find it.

Outrage ensued.

Students performed a walk-out. The police chief apologized. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts sent a complaint letter three days after the chief of police apologized. A group of parents formed a web site called “Berkshires Against Book Banning.” Presumably, a Boston Globe leftier-than-thou column is in the works.

A NewBostonPost staff member read through the book, Gender Queer: A Memoir, and published a description of it earlier this week. The book celebrates masturbation, oral sex, and frontal nudity. It is sometimes apathetic toward casual sexual experiences, and sometimes even encourages them. Ugly images accompany ugly thoughts.

This book is unfit for anyone, let alone children.

Now, the complaint against the search has been straightforward:  The police have no business investigating a place of education, teachers have a right to teach their pupils, book banning is wrong.

But let’s play cop. Child pornography is illegal. It’s also destructive. Showing children child pornography is not only a crime, it’s an outrage. The police got a report that is consistent with showing child pornography.  Of course police had to investigate.

As it happens, the book has no depictions of “a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct,” as federal law defines child pornography.

But more concerning than the legal aspect is the moral aspect. Here is the obvious question about the report made to police:  Was the claim true?

Was a sexually explicit book shown to children as young as 11?

Is that ever a good idea?

These questions aren’t even debated. In most public discourse on this matter, the virtue of a book like Gender Queer is simply assumed.

At the center of this is a broader discussion on what books are appropriate for children. As a liberal columnist put it earlier this year regarding this very book:  “Once you’re haggling over whether an illustrated sex act is dictionary-definition pornographic, surely you’ve already ceded the point of whether it’s appropriate for children.” 

Do you find sense in that? Ah! You’re a book burner.

“Treating books as dangerous has a chilling effect and is a threat to learning, growing, and accessing a wide range of information, voices, and experiences,” the Berkshires Against Book Banning web site says.

As if a book has inherent value, by virtue of having words on a page.

Yet is that true?

How about a faux-science book that claims black people are less mentally capable than white people? How about hard-core pornography? How about the King James Bible?

Any sensible person can spot the pattern. Supporters of books like Gender Queer argue relativism until it’s your turn. Diversity is our strength until it’s someone who doesn’t think like them. Book banning is bad unless it’s the books they disagree with. They claim no standard, but secretly, they hold one behind their back, ready to run you through with it the moment you offer yours.

The discussion is always driven by values, even as they put forward none. So what are their values?

Lest it be thought that this is a one-off incident, over the last few years, NewBostonPost has covered example after example of transgender ideology being imposed on children by public libraries and schools: Arlington, Boston, Uxbridge, Auburn, Milton, Hadley, Somerville, Westford, Plymouth, Franklin, Old Rochester, Dover, Chelmsford, Hanover, Mansfield. The list is endless.

They do it in schools, injecting it into curriculums. They do it through drag queen story hours. They do it at every age.

So when the ACLU praises a book like Gender Queer for its “literary value,” when Maura Healey steps off her throne to defend it, and when the institutional left swings into motion for the book’s honor, no one should be surprised.

To be clear, a book has value because of what it says. Or in this case, it does not have value because of what it shows.

Given the horrific content of Gender Queer, a troubling thought is that these advocates haven’t read their own book.

A more troubling thought is that they have.

And that they approve.


New to NewBostonPost? Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts. But you’ve found it. Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months. And join the real revolution.