According to Young America’s Foundation, the conservative organization received a tip from an irate parent after she visited the Dixon Public Library with her child, a 1-year-old. The mother, identified as Jill Hayes, told YAF she flipped through the book Gender Queer only after her child bumped the book off a display in the young adult section.
Kara Zupkus, a spokesperson for YAF, points out the book has “very, very graphic images” of sexual content that are not appropriate for children to find and open in a public library.
"The young adult section is intended for 12- to 18-year-olds," Zupkus tells AFN. "So it's really sad this library is trying to push indoctrination, and these really disturbing graphic images, on children as young as 12 years old."
Gender Queer is a comic book-style “memoir” of the author’s journey to find “self-identify,” but the cartoons includes sexually graphic, pornographic scenes from childhood and adolescence. The audience for the graphic novel is teens and adolescents but its sexual images, in cartoon after cartoon, have angered parents across the country.
The book’s author is Mai Kobaba, who is female but identifies as “no-binary” and goes by the personal pronouns “e/em/eir.” She has complained that schools are censoring the novel because the students don't have the same rights their parents enjoy.
AFN has reported on Gender Queer before, in a February story, after Virginia’s uber-liberal Loudoun County Schools pulled the book from its school library after parents confronted the school board with the graphic images.
Just how sexually explicit is the book? Public school boards were forced to stop parents from reading from the novel, such as a mother in Thornton, Colorado, who reminded the unhappy school board she was reading from a book available to children. A father who read from the book was escorted from a school board meeting in Orange County, Florida, too.
In the little city of Dixon, population 15,900, YAF was contacted by Mayor Liandro Arellano, Jr. He told the group he was “very disturbed” to learn about the book, and he has involved the city manager and the library board, too.
“In Illinois, the city does not have direct control of the library but we do have an oversight role,” the mayor told YAF in a statement. “I think parents and leaders need to work together and be vigilant in any city, and Dixon is no exception. I'm glad this was brought to our attention."
According to YAF, Gender Queer is not the only controversial book on the library shelf. A second graphic, comic book-style novel, Patience and Esther, was found near the front desk. The book is labeled "adults only."