A mother in Texas last week organized a children’s book reading featuring transgender characters after her local public library canceled their Rainbow Storytime on Transgender Day of Remembrance over threats of violence.
Amber Briggle, who has a young trans child, coordinated the new event, held on Saturday, with the help of a local church and brewery in Denton, Texas.
Hundreds of parents, children and community members showed up to the new Transgender Storytime, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. It was held at Armadillo Ale Works, which had volunteered to host the event.
The three-book lineup featured Michael Hall’s “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” about a red crayon which can only draw in blue, Jessica Love’s “Julian is a Mermaid,” about a boy who wishes to become a mermaid, and parents Vanessa Ford and J. R. Ford’s “Calvin,” about a young transgender boy reintroducing himself to friends and family.
“I want trans kids to know they’re perfect as they are and that they’re worth fighting for,” Briggle told the Record-Chronicle. “We have to celebrate these children. Reading a book with a transgender theme does not make kids transgender, but it does make transgender kids feel empowered.”
Local city council member Brian Beck read at the event and told the Record-Chronicle that while he does understand the library’s decision to cancel the original event, which made no direct reference to trans stories, because of safety concerns, the story time was still necessary to combat a campaign to “bully and exclude people.”
“Yelling, screaming, threatening violence, and canceling an event is not the Denton way,” he said.
There was a small group of protesters outside the reading, and the Denton Police Department stationed squad cars and officers around the brewery as a safety precaution, according to the Record-Chronicle.
Denton City Library, which had planned the original Rainbow Storytime, an event it organizes several times a year, told the city’s local Fox affiliate that the reading had to be canceled after Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines posted about it on his campaign website.
“Texas libraries are supposed to be places where Texans can read and learn, not spaces where public employees take the innocence of kids and replace it with Leftist sexual indoctrination,” Huffines wrote. He also called on the city to fire the library employees who approved the event, which he incorrectly referred to as “transgender storytime.”
After his statement was published, false information that the books at the reading would focus on trans children circulated online, drawing intense backlash from critics, culminating in the event’s cancelation.
The library said the books that are part of its Rainbow Storytime series focus on friendship and acceptance and the readings typically fall on days that center around marginalized groups.
“Denton Public Library hosts over 300 Library programs per season and, since we exist to serve all community members, we try to include programming that speaks to families who may feel different. It’s important to our community that every adult and child feels accepted in Denton,” the library said in a statement.
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