Document Type

Honors Thesis




Darren Ranco

Committee Members

Cynthia Isenhour, Melissa Ladenheim

Graduation Year

August 2023

Publication Date

Fall 12-2023


Beneath the idyllic scenery of Midcoast Maine lives a monster. This monster does not have a preference for where it lives, in fact its siblings reside all over the country. It is not a physical being, but a rising trend gaining national attention, book bans. Across the nation groups and individuals are attempting to censor information contained within books due to their allegedly inappropriate nature for a designated age range. For the last year one book in particular has received much scorn. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe is a graphic novel memoir with a focus on the author’s journey as a non-binary person. Many schools have removed the book for its supposedly pornographic content. In October of 2020 the RSU #40 School District was asked by a group of community members to do the same. One book triggered a year-long discussion and battle to remove the book from student access. Since the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing at the time, people could not congregate in person to voice their opinions. Instead, they opted to use social media. In particular, there was one group that hosted an interesting chain of comments on the topic. This thesis looks at the comments made on the Facebook group against the backdrop of the national trend on book banning to see what driving forces are behind the groups. A discourse analysis of the comments paired with personal experience uncovered three driving forces behind the book bans. One, is the sexualization of LGBTQIA+ relationships. Two, is the harmful notion that the LGBTQIA+ agenda involves grooming children through exposure to literature. Finally, there is the attempt to control minorities via suppressing freedom of speech. These subjects are analyzed and discussed at length in the following paper and concludes with a discussion of the harm the conversation can have on the queer community.