KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Washington Dems may push ‘porn’ on kids with law ending LGBTQ book bans

Feb 20, 2024, 5:54 PM

Image:A person poses with books that have been the subject of complaints from parents in Salt Lake ...

A person poses with books that have been the subject of complaints from parents in Salt Lake City in 2021. House Bill 2331 would have an impact on LGBTQ book bans in Washington state. (File photo: Rick Bowmer, AP)

(File photo: Rick Bowmer, AP)

Washington Democrats are effectively trying to force what opponents call “porn” and other age-inappropriate books and materials on school children with a law to combat LGBTQ book bans. It would prevent parental groups and school boards from removing materials from school libraries. 

House Bill 2331 (HB 2331) prohibits schools boards from refusing to approve books and other educational materials, including library books, if the subject “relates to or includes the study of the role and contributions of individuals or groups that are part of a protected class as established in public school nondiscrimination provisions.”

While it applies to all protected classes, the intent of the bill is around LGBTQ-themed books. This bill raises a critical question about the balance between what proponents claim promotes inclusivity and what critics describe as exposing young students to explicit content.

But the Democrats’ effort doesn’t stop all so-called LGBTQ “book bans.” A school may still ban books or other materials if it expressly criticizes progressive political movements, such as the one proclaiming gender a “social construct” that is fluid or that we “assign gender at birth.” 

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House Bill 2331 and its impact on so-called LGBTQ book bans in Washington state

So-called LGBTQ book bans were recently pursued after left-wing educators decided to fill libraries with books around radical views around gender identity and race. While these aren’t outright book bans, they are restrictions on what content is considered appropriate for younger audiences, particularly in elementary and middle schools. But they do generate unbalanced coverage with media outlets feigning interest over a small group of activists while demonizing concerned parents.

Books depicting graphic illustrations of oral sex and sex toys (“Gender Queer: A Memoir”), underage incest and rape (“All The Boys Aren’t Blue”), sexualizing children (“Melissa”), drug use and graphic sex (“Jack of Hearts and Other Parts”), and other age-inappropriate topics are being offered to elementary and middle schoolers.

Though conservative parental groups and school boards have championed this cause, there has been a general agreement that some books are inappropriate for young students. They’re sometimes so graphic that when a parent tries to read from them at school board meetings, they are shut down for being inappropriate. Indeed, I can’t quote the objectionable material in this blog, yet it’s appropriate for a 12-year-old? But many Democrats disagree, arguing these books are important for youth they say are transgender. 

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Gender identity in school curriculum and library book choices in Washington state

Democrats who have embraced radical views of gender expression, pretending there are no differences between boys and girls, say it’s important to keep these graphic sex novels so that transgender kids, in particular, can see themselves reflected in stories. Using the same argument when pushing gender reassignment surgeries on kids, they argue that if you don’t support graphic books about anal sex being pushed on your 12-year-old, you are pushing trans kids into suicide.

“I can relate to reading stories that describe my experience when I have a lot of self-doubt and didn’t feel like I fit in,” state Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle, a member of the LGBTQ caucus, explained. “And when we target a book that tells our students that their experiences are not valid and that they don’t fit in, we jeopardize their self-esteem, we increase their anxiety, we increase their depression, we increase the suicidal ideation that we know that our LGBTQ students experience at a much higher rate than their peers.”

Macri implied the only reason these books are being targeted is because they feature LGBTQ or female lead characters. 

But state Rep. Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla, who is also an openly gay lawmaker, pushed back at the argument. He noted there is “confusion” over the topic.

“There are materials that include sexually explicit material. It doesn’t matter if that act is happening between somebody who is part of a protective class or not. It’s about the inappropriate material that is sexually explicit,” Rude explained. 

Selective censorship and political motivation: the paradox of progressive response to LGBTQ book bans

Democrats aren’t suddenly against so-called book bans. It’s why they stayed completely silent when left-wing views around race sensitivity motivated a classroom book ban on “To Kill A Mockingbird.” This is motivated by politics.

The only reason Democrats are pursuing HB 2331 is to signal their support for the transgender community. It does not matter if transgender people even generally agree there is some material that isn’t appropriate for children. Democrats see this as part of the culture wars that they cannot allow conservatives to win, regardless of the consequences to your kids and parental rights. This is expressly about preventing communities from disagreeing with the Radical Left’s view of gender.

If approved, only the superintendent of public instruction may “ban” a book or other material. An effort by Republicans to allow local school boards to overrule the superintendent was stymied by Democrats. Democrats favor the superintendent because they don’t think a Republican or even a moderate Democrat will ever earn the position. 

The book ban legislation also specifically allows the banning of books and other materials if it includes “bias against any individual or group who is part of a protected class.” Under this law, a book like “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” which is critical of the gender extremism movement, may be banned. Apparently, it’s not important for a student who de-transitions or regrets a gender identity decision to see themselves in materials. It’s more important to keep those viewpoints from students.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram, and  Facebook.

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Rantz: Washington Dems may push ‘porn’ on kids with law ending LGBTQ book bans