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For more than a year after its publication, author George Johnson’s memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue was met with universal acclaim. The book, an account of Johnson’s upbringing as a queer Black boy, landed on “best of 2020” lists at Kirkus Reviews and the New York and Chicago public libraries.

“There were no attacks until about eight weeks ago,” Johnson told The Daily Beast.

The shift occurred near the beginning of the 2021 school year, when a coordinated campaign against the teaching of certain race- and gender-related topics plunged school board meetings into a panic. Johnson’s book and others attracted the furor of adults in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and elsewhere.

    But it was in Florida that All Boys Aren’t Blue became the subject of a more insidious tactic. There, a Flagler County School Board member filed a criminal complaint against the book, accusing it of containing pornography. The accusation is on the rise against authors of children’s and young adult literature, with school board members, far-right paramilitary groups, and politicians slinging allegations of pornography at books they don’t like.

    Johnson’s was not the first young adult book targeted with bogus pornography accusations.

    Author Laurie Halse Anderson’s 1999 book Speak won wide critical praise for its sensitive telling of a high schooler overcoming the trauma of sexual assault. Throughout the early 2010’s, Speak became an occasional conservative punching bag, with commentators accusing it of containing pornography in 2010 and 2014. Now the tactic is back—and more coordinated than in years past, Anderson says.

    “I noticed a real upswing about two, three weeks ago,” Anderson told The Daily Beast. “That was the first time that I got the sense that this is a coordinated effort around the country. That’s very disturbing. Before that, I think any censorship attempts that I’d heard about or been contacted about have been just a parent coming to the school board, or occasionally somebody with a larger agenda.”

    “When we’re gone, books will still be here. I think that’s really what the fear is, because books become a time capsule of the period you were in.”

    Today, that larger agenda is at the top of conservative legislative wishlists and Fox News segments. Critical race theory, a field of study that examines institutional racism, particularly in the legal system, became a boogeyman on the right, with Fox News decrying the academic field thousands of times in spring 2021. Much of that blitz focused on critical race theory’s supposed appearance in K-12 schools (it’s more of a higher-education field of study). A crop of conservative organizations, many of them newly formed by people who did not have children in the school districts they targeted, expanded their focus to a wider swath of classroom topics related to race, gender, and sexual orientation. Conservative lawmakers joined the trend, with nine states passing “anti-CRT” laws, some of which have faced court challenges on the grounds that they drastically limit educators’ ability to teach history and current events.

    In some states, that means the threat of pornography allegations. This month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced an effort remove “pornographic and obscene” books from the state’s schools. Abbott specifically championed the removal of books about gender from a Texas school’s library.

    “For example, Keller Independent School District was recently compelled to remove a book from a school library titled Gender Queer: a Memoir by Maia Kobabe after complaints of the book’s pornographic drawings.”

    Efforts to remove Gender Queer were actually spearheaded by parents, the Texas Tribune reported. Author Maia Kobabe, who intended the book for young adult audiences, recently penned a Washington Post op-ed describing the book’s story as part of vital coming-of-age narrative for nonbinary people. “The book has been out for two and a half years,” Kobabe writes of the sudden backlash. “Why now?”

      Other far-right factions have also weaponized “pornography” allegations, specifically targeting Kobabe’s book. In part of their ongoing effort to upend school board meetings, the paramilitary group the Proud Boys recently stormed a suburban Chicago school board event to rage against Kobabe’s book, calling it pornographic. The group, all adult men, including two who were recently arrested for violent offenses at political events, accused students who defended the book of being pedophiles, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

      Anderson said the accusations are wrong (for instance, they frequently conflate “pornography” with books that address LGBT issues) and deliberately difficult to fight against.

      “If they characterize books like this as pornography, then that puts the person opposing them having to work through the argument that, ‘if I’m against it, you’re saying that means I’m for pornography in the schools,’ which is absurd, of course,” she said. “It’s manipulative, it’s sneaky.”

      “That was the first time that I got the sense that this is a coordinated effort around the country.”

      Ultimately, Johnson said, the fight over school books isn’t about buzzwords—it’s about memory.

      “When we’re gone, books will still be here. I think that’s really what the fear is, because books become a time capsule of the period you were in,” they said. Growing up queer, Johnson encountered few adults or books that shared their experience, leaving them without a roadmap for adolescence.

      “I thought, in many ways, ‘Am I alone in this? Am I by myself in this? Am I the only person to feel this?’” Johnson remembered. “So when you have texts like mine and several of the other books that are being attacked in the system, people who were like me 20 years ago, they don’t have to think that they are the only person experiencing it.”

      For all the adult outcry over school books, both Johnson and Anderson said they’d heard from students who have become staunch defenders of school library books. In Florida’s, Flagler County Schools, where All Boys Aren’t Blue faces a pornography charge, a group of students led a protest this month, condemning the book’s removal from library shelves.

      Ironically, as the books’ opponents decry critical race theory, some of their efforts support the theory’s key arguments: that the legal system has historically been used to crack down on people of color.

      “It is not lost on me, the history of white people, specifically white women who use the criminal justice system as their personal concierge service when things don’t go their way,” Johnson said. “And so what is happening, the criminal complaint, all of that, that was not by chance—it was by design.”

      News Source: thedailybeast.com

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      Inside Octomom’s wild life from ex-porn star’s dodgy doc to divorce, bankruptcy, hoarding, and rehab battle

      OCTOMOM made the headlines around the world when she gave birth to eight children simultaneously in 2009, making her a single parent of 14 children.

      But Nadya Suleman, 46, has gone through divorce, bankruptcy and faced a rehab battle in her life.

      3Nadya Suleman is a mom to 14 kidsCredit: Instagram/@nataliesuleman 3She raises her kids in a three-bedroom townhouse in Orange CountyCredit: Instagram/@nataliesuleman

      Octomom rose to prominence after she welcomed a set of octuplets into the world via in vitro fertilization.

      She had given birth to her first son in 2001 and her first daughter a year later.

      At the time, she was already a single mother to six other children.

      Suleman revealed that she held each of the octuplets for 45 minutes a day and set the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive.

      Doctors thought the kids would’ve had to remain in hospital for weeks but 10 days after giving birth, Suleman was discharged.

      Since welcoming octuplets, Suleman welcomed Oprah Show cameras into her home in 2010 as she offered Americans an insight into her chaotic lifestyle.

      She told People that year: “I don’t get much sleep but I’m used to that. Some nights I don’t sleep at all or as little as half an hour.

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      "On the good nights, I may get up to full two hours. The longest I’ve gone without sleeping is 72 hours.”

      Octomom sat down with journalists such as Ann Curry and appeared on Dr Phil, but faced death threats as news about her octuplets went around the world.

      She has raised her kids in a three-bed townhouse in Orange County but her journey has not been smooth as she faced several battles in her life.

      DIVORCE

      Suleman married Marco Gutierrez in 1996 and began trying to have children through the next year when she was 21 years old.

      The couple separated in 2000 due to Suleman realizing she didn't want to be married, according to an interview with NBC News in 2009.

      "I was looking at myself, and acknowledged that I wasn't in love at all with him," Suleman told the outlet. "I was in love with having children."

      After about "seven years of trying," Suleman had turned to in-vitro fertilization.

      IVF EXPENSES

      In the late nineties, Suleman worked as a technician at a psychiatric hospital, where she took extra shifts to save up money to afford the expensive IVF procedure.

      "I was hoarding my money, and I was saving it and nonstop working," she told NBC. "I was so driven, so determined, I wouldn't give up."

      Suleman saved enough money to pay for several IVF procedures. The mother said that she's probably spent around $10,000 on the procedures over the years.

      After she left her husband, Nadya gave birth with the help of a sperm donor to a baby boy named Elijah in May 2001.

      She went on to have five more children over the next few years, including a pair of fraternal twins.

      Nadya learned that her reproductive system was "prematurely aging" at the age of 16, according to BioNews.

      Dr. Michael Kamrava supervised all of Suleman's IVF treatments.

      In 2008, he implanted 12 embryos in the mother, resulting in the birth of eight babies.

      The state medical board in California accused Kamrava of committing "gross negligence", according to Reuters.

      The medic was expelled from a fertility medical society later that year for an "extreme" departure from the standard of care.

      The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that no more than two embryos should be transferred to women under 35 during a single cycle of IVF treatment.

      Kamrava defended himself by saying that he was just complying with Suleman's wishes.

      BANKRUPTCY

      In April 2012 – just years after giving birth to octuplets – the parent of 14 filed for bankruptcy.   

      She told ENews: "I have had to make some very difficult decisions this year and Filing Chapter 7 was one of them.

      “But I have to do what is best for my children and I need a fresh start.”

      Court documents that were obtained by the outlet claimed she was no longer able to pay bills and owed between $500,000 and $1million in liabilities.

      She filed for bankruptcy just weeks after posing half-naked on the front cover of the magazine Closer.

      She didn’t think the shoot would be “hyper-sexualized” and claimed she posed seminude because it was a woman’s magazine.

      REHAB BATTLE

      Suleman checked into a rehab facility in Orange County in October 2012 for anxiety, stress, and exhaustion.

      Her rep told ENews that she had been taking Xanax that had been prescribed by her doctors to help deal with anxiety.

      She decided to pay for the treatment – despite the medical center offering to treat the mom-of-14 for free.

      Her agent told TMZ: “Nadya wanted to deal with her issues and make sure she is the best mother she can be.”

      The outlet reported at the time friends and nannies would care for her kids while she was away.

      The mom recently celebrated the octuplets 13th birthday on Wednesday as she branded them “kind, humble and grateful” human beings

      She said: 'Happy 13th birthday to Nariyah, Isaiah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Noah, Josiah, Jonah, and Makai!" "I do not know what I could possibly have done to deserve being blessed so bountifully."

      She gushed: "Words cannot express how grateful I am to be your mother. You all have blessed my life immensely and I thank God daily for trusting me to care for, shape the lives of, and influence all of you."

      She has been forced to defend the right to have her children over the years.

      In 2019, in response to one social media user who wrote under a photo of the brood asking why Suleman ‘needed’ to have so many children, the mum-of-14 hit back.

      She said: "No one ‘needs’ any children. I never planned on having octuplets (8 born simultaneously), though I wanted a big family (not THIS big lol) … hopefully, one day you will watch/read my true story.”

      3Octomom has been forced to defend the right to have her kids over the yearsCredit: AP:Associated Press Octomom Nadya Suleman who turned to porn to make ends meet reveals she’s turned her life around for her 14 kids

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