Gender Queer continues to be a flashpoint in the culture war. Last month, a lawsuit was filed in Virginia Beach, Virginia against a local Barnes & Noble over the sale of the graphic novel. Now, attorney and State Delegate Tim Anderson is suing Oni Press and Maia Kobabe over the graphic novel on behalf of Tommy Altmann, a failed Republican congressional candidate.
Anderson is using the state’s obscenity laws in the suit claiming:
Whenever he has reasonable cause to believe that any person is engaged in the sale or commercial distribution of any obscene book, any citizen or the attorney for the Commonwealth of any county or city, or city attorney, in which the sale or commercial distribution of such book occurs may institute a proceeding in the circuit court in said city or county for adjudication of the obscenity of the book.
It may be a tough battle for Anderson as the law also states the below shall be considered:
- The artistic, literary, medical, scientific, cultural and educational values, if any, of the book considered as a whole;
- The degree of public acceptance of the book, or books of similar character, within the county or city in which the proceeding is brought;
- The intent of the author and publisher of the book;
- The reputation of the author and publisher;
- The advertising, promotion, and other circumstances relating to the sale of the book;
- The nature of classes of persons, including scholars, scientists, and physicians, for whom the book may not have prurient appeal, and who may be subject to exception pursuant to subsection G.
Much of the argument will be around the first point of the above.
Lawyers for Oni have called the lawsuit unfounded stating:
The Petition fails to allege any of the grounds required under Code §18.2- 384. Considered as a whole, and further considered in the context of other literary works, Gender Queer, A Memoir cannot, as a matter of law, be deemed obscene in accordance with free speech principles and pursuant to any clear standards. Petitioner, identifies seven pages of a 240-page book, ignores the context of those selections contained in the book, and asserts that the book is obscene. 9. Petitioner’s conclusory assertions are unfounded when considering the entirety of the work. The petition in this matter grossly mischaracterizes the nature of the subject literary work, and all of the opinions stated in the petition are both irrelevant and contradicted by the content of the book taken as a whole and put into proper context. This can be determined 2 from the pleading itself which states that it includes a copy of the book as Exhibit A.
The Barnes & Noble lawsuit is still pending. Anderson is also behind that lawsuit on behalf of Altman. A new deluxe version of the graphic novel was released this week in comic shops and will soon come to bookstores.
This is another example of the book banning that is being pushed by right-wing provocateurs to make gains politically by stoking “culture wars”.
As has been shown, a dark money network is funding campaigns against “Critical Race Theory”, something not being taught in schools. This book banning is an off-shoot of that showing these pushes are about as natural as an oral bowel movement. The “movement” is being used as a wedge issue to whip up voters by the right since they have nothing else to run on. It attempts to pit parents vs. bureaucrats (and teachers), a match that’s pretty easy to get traction on. The movement has been working for decades and continues the right-wing push to take over at the local level, first at the state and now even lower to get their regressive agenda passed.