The book, which consistently ranks at the top of all banned books in schools nationwide, will remain available at the Greely High School library. Contributed / Oni Press

The Cumberland-North Yarmouth School Board has unanimously denied a request from an SAD 51 parent to remove “Gender Queer: A Memoir” from the Greely High School library.

Scott Jordan of Cumberland, who this fall filed an official challenge to the book, had appealed to the School Board a review committee’s recommendation to keep the book in the library.

The book by Maya Kobabe has been challenged unsuccessfully at other Maine districts because of its  sexually explicit content, with challengers calling it not only inappropriate for minors but also “pornographic.”

At an SAD 51 board meeting Dec. 4, nearly every speaker said they supported keeping the book at the high school.

Cumberland resident Sarah Allenby said individual parents have the right decide what material is appropriate for their children, but “they do not get to dictate and limit this for an entire school.”

SAD 51 parents may request that their child not be allowed to check out “Gender Queer,” or any other book they object to, from the high school library.


Jason Curry, a teacher at the high school who has a transgender daughter, said he regrets that books like “Gender Queer” weren’t available when his child was in school.

“I wish my child had read this book in high school. I wish my child had had this resource,” Curry said. “Books like this are important to keep in our school’s library.”

Jordan said the issue is not about banning books, but about keeping inappropriate material away from children.

“A child’s innocence can never be regained once compromised, and that shouldn’t happen at school,” he said.

Larry Aufiero said some people believe no book should ever be kept out of the library, no matter its content.

“To a large degree, I agree that we should provide students exposure to diversity,” Aufiero said. “However, I do not believe that a pornographic book will help us to achieve these noble goals.”


When Jordan’s appeal of the review committee’s decision on “Gender Queer” went to the School Board, each member read the book.

“I feel like I’m a better person for having read this book,” board member Kim Vine said. “I took this process very, very seriously.”

She and high school librarian Heather Perkinson said “Gender Queer” belongs at the school.

“All qualified school librarians follow the same process for choosing books,” Perkinson said. “We choose materials that support our school’s curriculum and the Maine Learning Results.”

The review committee for “Gender Queer” included a curriculum leader, community member, administrator, librarian and teacher in accordance with policy, according to board Chair Leanne Candura.

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