A Florida-based religious group called the Liberty Counsel doesn't want to see a popular book about a transgender child, I Am Jazz, read at the Mount Horeb Primary Center in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. So much so, they are prepared to sue.
The reading was intended to promote inclusion for a trans individual who attends the school, and parents were informed ahead of time when, and why the story was going to be shared with students.
"We have been working with the family of a student on your child's floor who identifies as a girl, but has a male anatomy. We refer to this as having a girl brain and a boy body," the letter sent home to parents read in part. It continues, "We believe all students deserve respect and support regardless of their gender identity and expression, and the best way to foster that respect and support is through educating students about the issue of being transgender. Together we can come up with a plan to support the student in living as her authentic self."
The Liberty Counsel claims it received complaints from concerned parents, and decided to try to thwart the planned reading by any means possible. The reading has now been canceled despite the fact that parents had a choice to opt their child out of hearing the story.
As a parent, I think I would feel comfortable with my child hearing this book in school, as long as I was given a heads up, so I could prepare for her questions and a follow-up conversation. I certainly want her to learn to accept others.
But as Jennings rightly points out, it is most important that people accept themselves. This is my sincere hope for the child in Wisconsin. Whether the story is ever read to her class, may she grow up knowing she is beautiful, inside and out, despite what any religious rights group has to say!
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.