A Catholic university in Minnesota is among several schools and libraries around the country encouraging students and children to read a controversial book that may include child pornography.

“June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month,” the website for Saint Benedict Saint John’s University (SBSJU) says. “This month-long celebration demonstrates how LGBTQ Americans have strengthened our country, by using their talent and creativity to help create awareness and goodwill.”

It then provides a reading list for students.

The first book on that list is called “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” authored by Maia Kobabe.

The book and its author are described thusly:

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Then came Gender Queer. Maia’s intensely cathartic graphic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

Whether the book actually depicts child pornography is a matter of interpretation, though “the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes” is referenced in the above description. It’s difficult to tell if some of the characters engaged in sexual activities are youth or adults.

Here is one questionable graphic image from the book:

The Minnesota Sun reached out to SBSJU to ask why it recommends the book to students, and whether a Catholic school should be promoting such material.

The school did not return the comment request.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Minnesota Sun and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to dabroscareports@gmail.com.
Photo “SJU Pamphlet” by College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.