A Washington Post piece published last month knocked parents for speaking out against a novel describing oral sex between two ten-year-old boys, despite the book’s author admitting he never intended for his work to be placed in school libraries.
The education piece published online Dec. 22 discussed the controversy of “Lawn Boy,” a novel by Jonathan Evison. Several passages from the book, described by Post reporter Hannah Natanson, depict a pair of ten-year-old boys who “meet in the bushes after a church youth-group gathering, touch each other’s penis, and progress to oral sex.”
In an interview with the Post, Evison said his book was not meant to be included in school libraries and was surprised to hear that the American Library Association gave “Lawn Boy” an award in 2019 for books written for adults that have “special appeal to young adults.”
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The front cover of the novel “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison.
(Jonathan Evison/Algonquin Books)
The author added that he believes his book was included in school libraries because of the award, and if recommended to middle schoolers or lower, it was likely confused with the children’s book “Lawn Boy,” by Gary Paulsen.
In the Post education piece, “A mom wrongly said the book showed pedophilia. School libraries banned it,” Natanson said that “misinformation” from parents about the book made it the second-most contested book of 2022.
Natanson specifically focused on two parents, Brandi Burkman and Stacy Langton, who spoke out at their local school board meetings against the book, and incorrectly claimed that the book depicted sex between an adult male and a young boy. The Post credits the two parents for springboarding the novel to the national spotlight, garnering the attention of politicians and prominent news outlets.
Langton, speaking with Fox News Digital, acknowledged she was wrong about her pedophilia claim and said that the passages of “Lawn Boy” describing the sexual encounter were confusing, as the tense of the passages consistently shifts between an adult male in the present and his sexual experience as a child.
But, she added that her comments about pedophilia were directed not just at the novel “Lawn Boy,” but also at another book, “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” written by Maia Kobabe.
Indeed, the viral video of Langton at her Fairfax, Virginia, school board meeting shows her holding up both books while addressing the board. “Gender Queer” does in fact show drawings of a sexual encounter between a man and a young boy and has been removed from numerous school bookshelves.
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“Gender Queer” a memoir by Maia Kobabe has been criticized for depicting what appears to be an older man with a younger boy.
(Maia Kobabe/Oni Press)
The Post piece defending “Lawn Boy” and labeling Langton as a purveyor of “misinformation” makes no mention of the “Gender Queer” memoir.
Langston also took issue with the Post article characterizing parents’ objections to sex acts depicted in a book like “Lawn Boy” as unjustified “panic,” and said that calling parent protests “misinformation” does a disservice to those who stand up to protect kids from sexualization in school libraries.
“I brought two books to the podium that day: one has sex between two little boys, one has an illustration of sex between a man and a boy, i.e. pedophilia,” Langton added. “Splitting hairs over which type of sex we are talking about in an effort to minimize the horror of pedophilia just shows the Post’s left-leaning bias, in the same vein as corporate media referring to pedophiles as ‘minor-attracted persons.'”
The Washington Post and the article’s writer did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request to comment on Langton’s criticism of the piece and why the book “Gender Queer” was not mentioned.
Natanson has previously written about the sexual imagery found in “Gender Queer” in September 2021.
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Citizen participant, Stacy Langton, speaks at the September 23, 2021 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) School Board Meeting.
(Fairfax County Public Schools )
In the piece, “Fairfax school system pulls two books from libraries after complaints over sexual content,” the writer describes a page from the graphic novel which shows “a sexual fantasy of the author’s — in which an apparently teenage youth is about to engage in fellatio with an older, bearded man — that the book states was based on Plato’s ‘Symposium.”
The writer further notes that the philosophical text “Symposium” details speeches on love, including an argument that “heavenly love” can only occur between a man and a boy.
The author of “Gender Queer,” Kobabe has said that the image in her book is based on an ancient Greek pottery cup of a “courting scene” on display in England.
Concerned parents had spoken up at Fairfax County School Board meetings to protest the “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer’s” presence in school libraries, but the school district reinstated the books after two committees ruled that they do not contain pedophilia or obscene material.
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Fairfax County Public Schools restored the books in the library after a committee review, which concluded that neither book contains pedophilia.
In January 2022, nearby Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) removed “Gender Queer,” with then-superintendent Scott Zielger asserting that the “pictorial depictions” found in the book “ran counter” to what is school appropriate.
“I read every book that is submitted for my review in its entirety. I am not generally in favor of removing books from the library,” Zielger told the Post.
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The Post was previously criticized for publishing a glowing review of a “play about pedophiles” that critics believe downplays sexual abuse and attempts to normalize pedophilia.
The piece by Washington Post chief drama critic Peter Marks, “‘Downstate’ is a play about pedophiles. It’s also brilliant,” was first published on Nov. 23.
The Post drama critic noted that “the predators who’ve completed their prison terms are depicted not as monsters but rather as complicated, troubled souls,” and wrote that the audience will learn what each pedophile has done. He also wrote that the “most disagreeable character” is one of the victims of pedophilia.
Nikolas Lanum is an associate editor for Fox News Digital.