Texas Woman Calls on Katy ISD Police to Confiscate Book; They Read & Return It
A woman, currently unnamed, contacted Katy ISD police to have a book removed from high school libraries in that district, claiming the book violated Texas law by describing "pornography."
According to The Houston Chronicle:
On July 21, the complainant came into the district police and contended the school system was violating Texas penal code 43.24, which prohibits the sale, distribution or display of harmful material to minors because the book was in high school libraries, according to a Katy ISD police report.
The book in question is Flamer, a graphic novel by Mike Curato. It's a coming-of-age story about a heavy-set, mixed race boy who is suffering from bullying while attempting to understand his sexuality. Curato wrote the book based on his own experiences:
When I was a kid, I didn't see anyone like me in books or on screens. I was relentlessly bullied just for being who I was, which was short, chubby, half Asian, effeminate, and clueless. And while I maintain that I've always been queer, I didn't understand what that even meant back then. I just knew I was OTHER, all the time.
Katy ISD police checked the book out, read it, and returned it to the library.
The woman had filed multiple complaints about the book but was unsatisfied that the district didn't follow her personal mandate about which books should be available to high school students.
The Houston Chronicle, which has been heroically investigating banned books in Texas schools, found that the resurgence in book censorship is mostly driven by political posturing rather than genuine concern by parents:
A Houston Chronicle analysis found the wave of book reviews and removals that swept across Texas in the last year was driven more by politicians than parents, contradicting claims that recent book bans were the result of a nationwide parental rights movement to have more control over learning materials.
Flamer is a described as a book "that will save lives." According to The Trevor Project, LGBTQ+ teens are four times more likely to commit suicide than their peers, due to bullying, stigmatization and mistreatment.
Here is a list of numbers you can call if you are feeling suicidal. Truly, you're valuable to the world and NOT alone.
It sucks to feel alone, different, ostracized and/or broken. I've been there. And while I owe a tremendous debt to the family and friends who have gotten me through the worst times, books have always been an immediately available and safe place for me. It's a bit of a cliché for sad girls, but I can say with confidence that Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar saved my life.
Books, even fiction (especially fiction), reveal the truth: that life, even when seemingly unbearable, has a beauty to match every ugliness and a hope to match every horror.
Books that reflect only a narrow ideal of what an extremist minority thinks life should look like are beyond useless. They're a waste of paper.
I guess the woman who called the police on a book never read Fahrenheit 451.
So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless.