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Columbus school district bought controversial gender books for its libraries

Some are concerned the books include sexually explicit content, including specific references to oral sex.

Published: April 1, 2023 11:47pm

(The Center Square) -

The Columbus Public School District purchased many controversial books on gender in 2022, including "Gender Queer," a novel at the center of a national debate on what is being presented in public school libraries to children.

The Center Square submitted a public records request for the books the district purchased in 2022, and the list included: “All Boys Aren't Blue,” “Beyond The Gender Binary,” “Gender Queer,” “New Queer Conscience”, “My Rainbow,” “Sparkle Boy” and “They, She, He, Easy As ABC.”

The books “My Rainbow,” “Sparkle Boy” and “They, She, He, Easy As ABC” were purchased for the elementary school library.

The Amazon description of “Sparkle Boy” reads: "Here is a sweet, heartwarming story about acceptance, respect, and the freedom to be yourself in a world where any gender expression should be celebrated."

GoodReads.com wrote of “They, She, He, Easy As ABC”: “As the dance begins the kids proclaim, 'No one left out and everyone free,' in a sing-song rhyme about inclusion.”

Penguin Random House Elementary Education described “My Rainbow,” as “A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter…”

The non-profit Parents Defending Education flagged the book “All Boys Aren't Blue” – which was purchased for the high school library – for its sexually explicit content, including specific references to oral sex.

The books were categorized by elementary, middle and high school libraries, but the school district doesn’t have further rules about checking books out.

“The district does not have a policy in regard to access to books for students,” Jacqueline Bryant, the director of communications for the Columbus Public School District, said in an email to The Center Square. “Books purchased for library media centers are checked out under the supervision of a library specialist or library instructional assistant.

“The district’s office of academic services is currently working on its process for the selection of library materials based upon the American Library Association guidelines for school libraries,” Bryant added.