State Farm, the household-name insurance company, has abandoned its program to distribute LGBTQ-themed books to teachers, community centers, and libraries, explicitly targeting children as young as kindergartners, after a media exposé based on a whistleblower email caught the company by surprise on Monday.
In an email to all State Farm agents and staff members sent just hours after multiple news outlets revealed the book initiative, Victor Terry, chief diversity officer and vice president of public affairs, announced the cancellation of its collaboration with GenderCool, an organization that promotes LGBTQ teaching via speaking events, mentorship programs, DEI/HR consulting, and advising for parents of transgender children.
“State Farm’s support of a philanthropic program, GenderCool, has been the subject of news and customer inquiries. This program that included books about gender identity was intended to promote inclusivity,” the email, obtained by Libs of TikTok, read. “We will no longer support that program.
“Conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents. We don’t support required curriculum in schools on this topic. We support organizations providing resources for parents to have these conversations,” Terry wrote.
The original program was supposed to recruit hundreds of agents and staff volunteers to “help diversify classroom, community center and library bookshelves with a collection of books to help bring clarity and understanding to the national conversation about Being Transgender, Inclusive and Non-Binary,” according to the January 2022 email, obtained by Consumers’ Research, which surfaced Monday.
In the book, Non-Binary, one of the three-book bundles offered in the GenderCool Collection, a character named Gia is introduced to young readers as a transgender girl who uses she/her pronouns. “When you’re born, a doctor looks at you and says, ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ based on your body. But gender isn’t that simple. You see, when I was born, the doctor said, ‘It’s a boy!’ But . . . this wasn’t true,” Gia narrates.
“The project’s goal is to increase the representation of LGBTQ+ books and support our communities in having challenging, important, and empowering conversations with children Age 5+,” the original email said.
The email was sent by Jose Soto, State Farm’s corporate responsibility analyst, to all Florida agents, six of whom would have the opportunity to participate in the program. However, the email’s language suggested a large and national scope.
“Nationwide, approximately 550 State Farm agents and employees will have the opportunity to donate this 3 book bundle to their local teacher, community center or library of their choice,” the email said.