All across Maine, school boards are debating whether sexually explicit books should be available in public school libraries, especially books like “Gender Queer,” which contain cartoon images of minors having sex.
Now, Bonny Eagle High School in Maine has decided a controversial book about young girls becoming transgender is inappropriate for inclusion in the high school’s library.
The book that has been banned at Bonny Eagle, however, contains no illicit images or narrations of children having sex.
Instead, the book is a fact-based investigation by an award-winning journalist of the recent surge in young girls who identify as transgender and the social factors that may contribute to it.
The MSAD 6 system in Standish has rejected a donation of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” by Abigail Schrier, Bonny Eagle board member Julie Anderson said Monday during a public meeting.
Anderson donated the book, along with two others, to help balance out the gender-related content in the library.
“It was decided by a few staff, although I’m not sure who the staff was besides the librarian, that Irreversible Damage was not appropriate for high school students,” said Anderson.
Bonny Eagle Superintendent Clay Gleason confirmed in an email that Shrier’s book has been rejected from the high school library.
He said the reason the book won’t go into the library is because it is intended for adults, as opposed to Gender Queer, which carries a 16+ rating.
“The main reason it wasn’t accepted was that it was seen as a book written to be a resource for parents with parents being the intended audience,” Gleason said.
Gleason didn’t say who ultimately made the call to ban Irreversible Damage from the school library.
Shrier is an independent journalist who holds an A.B. from Columbia College, a B.Phil. from the University of Oxford, and a J.D. from Yale Law School, and Irreversible Damage was named the “Book of the Year” by The Economist and has received international praise for its rigorous and scholarly examination of the subject matter.
“The book highlights stories about adolescents transitioning and the health and psychological issues they deal with,” Anderson said.
Currently, Maine’s public school libraries, including Bonny Eagle’s, are filled with books that romanticize gender transitions with fictional and quasi-fictional stories.
Shrier’s book, on the other hand, is journalistic look into the factors contributing to the massive surge in gender confusion and gender dysphoria diagnoses among young American women.
In particular, Shrier’s book examined the phenomenon known as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), which some researchers believe may be playing a role in the increased rate of young woman saying they are transgender. Proponents ROGD hypothesize that social factors may play a role in the explosive growth of gender non-conforming young people witnessed over the past decade.
Such an investigation is especially relevant in Maine, where high school age young people are more likely than their peers in other states to say they are not heterosexual or cisgender, a trend that has increased sharply since 2017.
Yet Shrier’s book has drawn criticism from LGBT advocates who deny that the recent increase in young girls saying they are transgender may be caused in part by social factors. The suggestion that ROGD is at all a socially caused phenomenon separate from childhood gender dysphoria is generally dismissed on the left, though few peer reviewed studies on the subject exist.
Anderson noted at the board meeting that Bonny Eagle’s policies regarding library books calls for a balance of perspectives to be offered, especially on controversial topics.
With Shrier’s book effectively banned from Bonny Eagle’s library, Anderson believes high school students are missing out on an opportunity to learn about all sides of a controversial issue rather than just the side one political ideology, or one school librarian, would prefer they hear.
She said she submitted two other titles offered from a “feminist perspective” on the topic of gender ideology, but she hasn’t heard whether the librarian accepted those books.
At the board meeting, Anderson pointed out that middle school students must get parental sign-off before students can participate in sexual education courses, but no such sign-off is required for students to access sexually explicit material in the school’s library.
“I would like to know why the library staff thinks hyper-sexualizing middle schoolers is appropriate,” she said. “When these types of books are in the library, I think they need parental consent.”
Although Maine schools have been slow to adopt policies requiring parental consent before students access explicit library materials, a bipartisan majority of Maine voters support such policies.
In a Maine Wire / Co/Efficient poll of nearly 2,000 Mainers, 62 percent of respondents said they want “safeguards” in place at schools to ensure children are accessing age-appropriate material.
In the poll, 72 percent of respondents supported giving parents the right to “opt out” of materials they deemed too illicit for their children to access.
Watch Anderson’s comments below: