In late August, the Gender Queer obscenity lawsuit that had been leveled at Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group and cartoonist Maia Kobabe was dismissed by Virginia Circuit Court Judge Pamela S. Baskervill on several grounds including the fact that Virginia state law does not allow for citizens to level obscenity claims. This lawsuit was leveled by Tommy Altman, a former Republican congressional candidate, and his attorney - Virginia State Delegate Tim Anderson. The August 30 ruling from Judge Baskervill stopped the proceedings before the case could go to trial. On October 4,, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced on Twitter that the deadline for the appeal has passed, and that without an appeal, the judgment stands as is, and the case is over.
It’s officially over: the Virginia Beach court ruling that found the statute used against Gender Queer to be unconstitutional wasn’t appealed by the deadline, so the judgment stands. Thanks again to you all for supporting our work defending the book in this important case! /jt pic.twitter.com/suVEZpBh2d— Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (@CBLDF) October 4, 2022
Gender Queer is the first full-length graphic memoir from cartoonist Maia Kobabe, and has been at the center of several book banning efforts alongside other queer and gender-identity related books, especially graphic novels. At an online event on September 19 with Steven Emmert (the Virginia lawyer who took on the Gender Queer case), Jeff Trexler, the interim director of the CBLDF pointed out that book banning cases are on the rise, and the fact that this case was thrown out does not mean that other similar cases will not be leveled elsewhere throughout the United States. He did point out, however, that the case is a big win, saying, "I think that people will be looking at this one for years to come."
Check out Popverse's previous coverage of this case: