Book bans continue to be an obsession for conservatives, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ content, but the latest library challenge has reached a whole new level of absurdity. A Texas woman sent the cops after Katy Independent School District (Katy ISD) for stockpiling a queer YA graphic novel. The woman has remained anonymous, but for convenience, let’s just call her by a completely random and arbitrary name like… “Karen.”
The challenge was about Mike Curato’s first graphic novel Flame, a coming-of-age story about a queer Filipino teenager named Aiden Navarro. Set in 1995, the graphic novel concerns Aiden’s experience at a Boy Scout summer camp, where he must confront homophobic bullying, masculinity, and his own Catholic upbringing in order to come to a place of acceptance of self. The book received critical acclaim, winning the Lambda Literary Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and making it to Horn Book magazine’s Best Books of 2020 list.
But for Karen, this story of self-love versus hate really touched a sensitive chord. When she discovered Flame in a library at Katy ISD’s Jordan High School, she complained that the heartfelt story was somehow pornographic.
According to Houston Chronicle, a school district committee had already reviewed the book in March and decided that it contained no objectionable material. Accordingly, the woman’s complaint was dismissed. But in classic Karen style, she decided to go above the block, straight to the cops.
The police report details his complaint, which consisted of an alleged violation of Texas Penal Code 43.24, prohibiting “the sale, distribution or display of material harmful to minors.” Additionally, Karen hoped to ensure that the book would be banned not only at Jordan High, but in school libraries throughout the district.
Although an officer checked the book, the investigation ultimately came to nothing. According to the police report, Flame had already undergone “several review processes by the district, including one with a committee of librarians, parents, and teachers, and deemed appropriate for high school libraries.” The school principal corroborated this, saying the book had already been taken down and reinstated after receiving initial complaints. Accordingly, Karen’s objection was deemed “unfounded”.
Always the Karen, the woman was undeterred, saying she will go over the local police at the Texas Rangers office. Police say they are within their rights to file another complaint, if that is how they want to spend their time. If we know our Karens, she’ll accept that offer.