The light turned green, and I joined what looked like a group of high school students on the crosswalk across North 12th Street in Philadelphia.
As I reached the other side of the street in front of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, the venue for Moms for Liberty’s Joyful Warriors National Summit, I was approached by a young woman wearing an Antifa button.
She told me that she assumed I was a teacher, and asked what grades I taught. I replied with the range of ages I used to teach when I was in the classroom: “Middle school and high school.”
The young woman then directed me to a table on the sidewalk outside the hotel. There, she and several others had a display from the “Philly Children’s Movement” which included several stacks of books they claimed Moms for Liberty, a parental rights organization, is trying to ban.
The activists encouraged me to take a book back to my classroom for my students to read, warning that this selection of books on the table “wasn’t available” elsewhere for me to purchase for my classroom.
I didn’t see copies of “Gender Queer,” “Antiracist Baby,” “This Book Is Gay,” or other books I recognized (and are advertised on the progressive Philly Children’s Movement website) with content that is inappropriate for minors.
In fact, though I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the past two years reading hundreds of books that progressives have claimed conservatives are “banning,” the only book I recognized was Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give,” which also has not been banned.
Relying on the “expertise” of these activists bedecked in such markers of wisdom as “Progress Pride” flags and Antifa buttons, I asked: “Which book are Republicans most afraid of—which book have they banned the most?”
This question puzzled the woman with the Antifa button, who finally handed me a copy of the graphic novel “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier.
“This one is banned all over,” she assured me.
Putting the copy of “Drama” in my bag, I stepped away from the table of “banned literature” and walked into the Marriott to get the opinions of Moms for Liberty chapters from around the nation.
What better time than this group’s national summit to hear damning criticisms from different states’ moms of what the Antifa activists described as the “banned all over” book?
But I couldn’t find one mom at the summit who had ever heard of “Drama,” much less could tell me about efforts to restrict minors’ access to it.
I called a few left-leaning journalists of my acquaintance on K-12 education beats at Chalkbeat, Education Week, CNN, and USA Today. None had ever heard of any efforts to ban “Drama.”
The only reference to the “banned all over” graphic novel I found was an ACLU report claiming that three Texas public school districts moved “Drama” from elementary and middle school libraries to their high school libraries.
“Maybe the book just hasn’t been looked into yet,” I thought.
Certainly Antifa activists wouldn’t lie about a book to create drama of their own.
So I wasted an hour reading a comic book with no plot—just a grown adult fantasizing about eighth grade theater students coming out as “gay” or “bi.”
It’s no wonder I haven’t heard of crowds of parents trying to remove this book from school libraries. There’s hardly anything in it to bother parents when books such as “Gender Queer” still sit on the shelves. And the book is just too mediocre for anyone to care about.
“Drama” follows an eighth grade girl, Callie, as she prepares for a middle school play, where she works on stage crew and “falls in love” with three guys who come out as gay during the “story.”
That’s the entire book—I’m not cutting anything out. “Drama” is 233 pages of nothing.
I will note that although Telgemeier, the author, clearly is trying to normalize “gay” middle schoolers and dispel stereotypes, she shoots herself in the foot.
One character mocks Callie for liking a boy who wears a dress in the play—suggesting she was wasting her time liking someone who is “obviously” gay.
Later in the book, the dude who wore a dress comes out to Callie as gay—so I guess the “mean, obnoxious” character who mocked Callie was right?
It’s a painful lack of self-awareness from the LGBTQ+ community: Gender roles and stereotypes are bad unless the person is gay, in which case they’re encouraged.
I’m almost amazed that progressives would spend so much effort defending a garbage graphic novel no one is coming after.
Screeching from progressives over a dull graphic novel no one cares enough about to ban quite succinctly sums up the protests of Moms for Liberty at the summit in Philly, which ran from June 29 to July 2.
Activists gathered to scream about the supposed doom approaching books, people, and gender identities “under threat of genocide” by Moms for Liberty.
Inside the building, in sharp contrast, the gathered moms couldn’t care less about anything progressives were yelling about.
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