MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating whether any state laws were broken after a book described by Governor Henry McMaster as ‘obscene’ and ‘pornographic was found in the library of a Fort Mill area public school.
The book, Gender Queer: A Memoir, is getting praise from the LGBTQ+ community. Colleen Condon, with the Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA), said the book reminds her of a high school version of, “Are You There God It’s Me, Margret”.
Condon said she downloaded the book this morning on her kindle, and she believes it is an educational took that could potentially be lifesaving.
Over 30% of transgender youth are likely to attempt suicide in the next year. They need to have a way to understand what is happening to their bodies and this book is an amazing resource.Colleen Condon, AFFA
Condon said she believes the real issue with the text is not images, but the message of exploring sexual preferences. Further, she said that she does not believe this graphic novel is “any more graphic, any more obscene or pornographic than many other books that we are seeing in these libraries.”
Governor McMaster stated on Thursday, that he stands with the parents who brought the novel to his attention. He said, “these materials, if the average parent out there, the average citizen would see what I saw the other day, which is just the tip of the iceberg, I’m afraid, I hope not, they would be stunned to see that in our schools.”
State Superintendent Molly Spearman and agency staff were also alerted and asked to launch an investigation into material permitted in public school libraries.
The SC Department of Education said each district has its own board policy for review and purchase of library and media center books. Though in this particular instance, state officials say that the district failed to properly vet the book in question.
Dorchester District 2 and the Charleston County School District, (CCSD) said they have a thorough screening process for the books they have in their systems. CCSD said specifically that they do not have Gender Queer: A Memoir in any libraries.
Condon said that the AFFA will provide a copy to anyone who wants to read the book for themselves.
It is that important, that students who are going through these gender questions in their mind have a safe place to explore it. They may not have a safe teacher, or counselor relationship, or home relationship that they feel safe doing it and my goal is making sure every single on of these teenagers has access to information.Colleen Condon, AFFA
Requests by teens will be available by next Wednesday at the Equality Hub at 1801 Reynolds Avenue, Suite A, 29405.