SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – An autobiography that the author describes as a “journey of self-identity” is catching heat from South Carolina parents. Some people want it removed from every bookshelf in schools across the state.
Governor Henry McMaster said he’s received emails from upset parents and agreed that the book contains pornographic material and has no place in public schools.
On Wednesday, the governor tweeted a letter addressed to to South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman urging her to investigate a book called Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe.
The book recounts the life of an adolescent discovering eir non-binary gender identity. It features coming of age stories about adolescent crushes, friends bonding over erotic gay fan fiction and traumatic experiences surrounding pap smears.
Governor McMaster said the book contains quote “sexually explicit and pornographic depictions which easily meets or exceeds the statutory definition of obscenity.”
“Anyone that would look at these materials and think that they’re appropriate for children 12 years old or to be in public schools or any school at all would say that is nonsense. These things are dangerous, destructive and harmful,” McMaster said.
In an interview with the Washington Post, the author responded to previous attacks by schools across the country by saying pornography is a common accusation used against content with themes of queer sexuality.
The book was removed from a public school library in Fort Mill, SC after parents petitioned the district.
“I’m not advising anybody to go look at these things but if you look at it you’ll understand that it’s not no business being in our schools,” McMaster said.
Governor McMaster also plans to get SLED involved to investigate whether any laws were broken as a result of this book getting in the hands of children.
“The parents of South Carolina do not want their children to be exposed to these materials,” McMaster said.
We reached out to more than 20 elementary school libraries in the Upstate and all of them said they didn’t have the book in their collections.