TIME spoke to Gender Queer author and illustrator Maia Kobabe about eir work, the efforts to restrict access to eir writing, and what ey make of the current cultural moment.
Captain, your signal’s breaking up. I’m getting a lot of static. Must be solar flares. That, or dangerously high levels of pretension caused by the proximity of Ms Kobabe, an activist and supposedly ungendered being, complete with boutique pronouns, and TIME’s Madeleine Carlisle. Given what follows, the words “restrict access” - and the subsequent claims of persecution - may seem a tad misleading. Ms Kobabe’s book, we learn, explores,
Questions around how to introduce nonbinary pronouns to people who might not be familiar them. And also how to be a role model as a nonbinary adult, especially in a setting like a classroom.
You see, our aspiring role model has produced a book combining hardcore self-involvement with dysmorphic cartoon pornography, with the results being made available to schoolchildren, including 11-year-olds. As one might imagine, there have been some, shall we say, reservations regarding whether a book of this kind should be circulated among children without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Readers may recall scenes in which parents attempted to read aloud passages from the book among fellow adults at school board meetings, typically resulting in reprimands, the shutting off of microphones, and threats of physical removal. Apparently, “vagina slime,” fellatio and “strap-on hotness” are inappropriate topics for adult discussion, even as an attempt to specify a problem, but totally fine for kids. Who apparently need to know about the joys of masturbating while driving.