South Carolina's far right Republican Governor Henry McMaster has ordered an LGBTQ book for teenagers banned from school libraries, calling it obscene, "deeply disturbing," "manifestly inappropriate," and even "pornographic." He has also ordered law enforcement to investigate, claiming the book's very existence in school libraries "is likely illegal" under state law.
The award-winning book, "Gender Queer: A Memoir," by Maia Kobabe, is distributed by Simon & Schuster. The School Library Journal called it "a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand."
In a fiery press release on Wednesday McMaster attacked public education professionals, saying: “If school personnel had performed even a cursory review in this particular instance, it would have revealed that the book contains sexually explicit and pornographic depictions, which easily meet or exceed the statutory definition of obscenity. Thus, I am concerned that further examination may identify additional instances in which inappropriate materials have been introduced into our State's public schools."
McMaster has a history of opposing public education. Last year he tried to reroute $32 million in federal funds to private schools. The act clearly violated a state constitution and was blocked through legal action, which McMaster is appealing.
McMaster's attack on LGBTQ students and LGBTQ books comes just days after Texas Governor Greg Abbott labeled LGBTQ books in schools – and specifically the same book McMaster is now attacking – as "pornography." One Texas lawmaker identified 850 books he wants banned.
This week a Virginia school board voted 6-0 to ban certain books, with two of the board members says they wanted to throw the books "in a fire" and to "burn them."
McMaster publicized his action Wednesday, posting a letter he wrote to the Superintendent of Education to social media: