The right wing has nothing materially positive to run on, so they have manufactured a regressive, sadistic moral panic aimed at those who are among the most vulnerable in our current world — transgender and nonbinary youth. As part of this nationwide moral panic, right wing activists in Maine are urging school boards to ban books and even posters supporting LGBTQI+ youth, often in the guise of “protecting” children.

On Oct. 20, the RSU 40 School Board (Union, Warren, Waldoboro, Washington, Friendship) will be voting on whether to ban a beautiful graphic novel memoir “Gender Queer” from Medomak Valley High School’s library. After I heard about this proposed censorship, I got “Gender Queer” and read it in one inhale because it was so gorgeous and compelling. The moral panic claims these books are “pornographic,” but absolutely nothing in “Gender Queer” is meant to turn people on — the definition of porn. The book gets a bit graphic at times, but it is not sexy.

Also, guess what: if a young person wants to find porn — I mean, lots and lots and LOTS of porn — all it takes is typing one word into a search engine. Easy access to porn is a complicated issue, but one answer is to teach porn literacy, instead of these misguided, harmful bans of already-well-vetted books in school libraries — bans that function as the complete opposite of “protecting” kids.

A high schooler in the RSU 40 school district has started a petition against banning the books; it has nearly 600 signatures. Please sign it: If you support LGBTQI+ youth, and oppose book banning, plan to attend the meeting at Medomak Middle School, 318 Manktown Road, Waldoboro on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.

The person who originally urged the school to ban the books does not even live in the district, so supporters of LGBTQI+ youth from outside the district should feel welcome. LGBTQI+ students will be in attendance, so I hope the ignorant or fearful adults will stop themselves from saying the hurtful things they sometimes say in these matters. Some of these “concerned citizens” are genuinely afraid and genuinely care about kids — I get it — but not only are they are on the wrong side of history, their ignorance, and sometimes flat-out bigotry, is causing serious, sometimes deadly, harm in some of the most vulnerable young people.

I urge those of us who support a world where everyone is free to be themselves (without hurting others): now is the time to speak up. Oct. 20 at 7 p.m., Medomak Middle School.

Becca Shaw Glaser