Texas School Board Meeting Erupts Over LGBTQ Graphic Novel Reading

A Texas school board meeting on Tuesday night saw a man forcefully removed by security as he attempted to read from an LGBTQ graphic novel. The incident, captured on video by Paul Leavitt and shared widely on social media, unfolded as the man stood at the podium and began reciting passages from the graphic novel “Flamer” by Mike Curato.

The novel, set in 1995, centers around Aiden, a young boy facing bullying at a Boy Scouts summer camp due to his perceived behavior. The scene that caused the uproar involves a character asking, “Who wants my hot wiener?”—words that caused a Fort Worth Independent School District board member to slam down her gavel and call for security.

As the man continued to read, chaos ensued. Shouts filled the room, the board member’s gavel pounded in protest, and security personnel rushed to the scene. Gripping the microphone, the man persisted in reading, undeterred by the escalating situation.

Outrage among the crowd intensified as security officers physically restrained the man. Amidst the turmoil, voices cried out, defending the man’s right to express his views. “Hey, he’s not breaking the law!” one person shouted, while another voiced the word “unconstitutional.”

In a separate video angle, the man can be seen claiming that the book is part of the school’s curriculum. He faced resistance from an officer who repeatedly pushed and grabbed him, leading to the intervention of parents who demanded an end to the scuffle.

“Flamer” has found itself at the center of controversy, landing on the American Library Association’s list of “banned books” for 2022. The novel, often challenged for its LGBTQ content and lewd references, has raised concerns among critics. Some have pointed to specific illustrations, including a shower scene and an illustration of a boy provocatively staring at other students’ bodies, as reasons for their unease.

A part of the book read by a Michigan mother at a board meeting states, “We’re each busting a load in this bottle. If you don’t cum, you have to drink it.”

“I learned about masturbation two years ago, kind of by accident. No one ever told me what it was,” another part reads.

However, Curato has passionately defended his work, labeling the backlash a “politically motivated movement” meant to divert attention. He maintains that the novel aims to depict the struggles of teenage life and situations faced by young people aged 14 to 18. According to him, the book is about honesty and authenticity.

“It’s an honest book. But there’s nothing worse than what you’d find in a Judy Blume book,” he asserted.