The American Library Association (ALA) has awarded top honors to an education organization that provides LGBTQ+ affirming book sets to schools across the U.S.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, is a network of over 1.5 million people working to create safe, affirming schools, and one of its programs is the Rainbow Library initiative that “provides LGBTQ+ affirming text sets to schools free of charge.” The organization has already sent Rainbow Library sets to 1,800 schools and libraries across 19 states.
The network’s website proudly declares that two-thirds of their books “center the voices of queer authors of color and 40% of our books center the voices of trans and nonbinary authors,” and the sets come in four different age ranges, from kindergarten up to grade 12.
But the content of the Rainbow Library sets is being kept a secret. In order to discover which books are being shipped out to schools for use in kindergarten classrooms, you must be a full-time staff member at a school, and apply for a copy of the book list.
The GLSEN Rainbow Library online bookstore has the usual array of colorful picture books aimed at teaching young children that their bodies are unimportant and what truly makes them boys or girls is a feeling inside their heads.
Who Are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity is available on the website. This picture book tells young children who still believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy that grown-ups simply guess a baby’s sex at birth, and introduce them to terms like cisgender, genderqueer, non-binary, bigender, and neutrois.
There’s also It Feels Good to Be Yourself, a beautifully illustrated picture book full of vibrant colors which teach children about the concept of gender identities. The main character is Ruthie,“a transgender girl” which children are told means “when she was born, everyone thought she was a boy, until she grew…old enough to tell everyone that she is actually a girl.” Ruthie discovered this fact at just five years old.
There story features a non-binary child because “some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between,” the elementary school-age children are told.
The ALA’s mission statement is “the best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost,” and its website states it is committed to enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. It does not say anything about providing ideological reading materials full of scientific inaccuracies to young impressionable minds.
Perhaps I Am Jazz is included in the secret contents of the Rainbow Library set. A ubiquitous feature in early years classrooms, this is a children’s book about reality TV star Jazz Jennings, who was socially transitioned as a young child, put on puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones as an adolescent and then had vaginoplasty at age 18. Jennings’ surgeon has stated that Jennings had never orgasmed prior to the surgery, and was unlikely to afterwards, and that the surgery was especially complicated because Jennings had never gone through puberty so there was very little penile tissue to work with. Jennings experienced serious complications post-op and now suffers from an eating disorder. Young children only get the heartwarming start of the story in the picture book though, when Jazz is happy to finally be allowed to wear dresses and sparkles.The GLSEN online bookstore also stocks reading materials for older LGBTQ+ students, including extremely pornographic books such as This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. Both books have sparked outrage in recent years after being found on the shelves of school libraries.
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