Debbie Creecy, a Denton resident, discovered the program on Monday when her son was looking at other events happening at the library. The Creecy family has enjoyed many family-friendly storytimes and programs at the library.
“I took my kids to storytime for years,” Creecy said in an interview with The Texan. “I am appalled at this after years of such great experiences with no agenda.”
Creecy sees this as an effort by the library to inculcate certain values into children. “I want kids to be kids. I think there is an underlying agenda here being foisted on kids. It is very upsetting to me,” she said.
In response to her concerns, the library director said in an email, “Denton Public Library serves all community members. The Uniquely You! A Transgender StoryTime features books about families, friendship, and self-expression. It follows the standard Denton Public Library StoryTime format and is conducted by library staff members.”
Books that will be included in the storytime are “Red: A Crayon’s Story” by Michael Hall, “I’m a Girl” by Yasmeen Ismail, and “What Riley Wore” by Elana K. Arnold.
According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance to recognize those transgender persons who have lost their lives to violence.
“The program’s intent is to provide a respectful and fun atmosphere for children and caregivers to enjoy reading and hearing stories together and featuring books reflecting diverse families in our community,” her email continued.
The library director also pointed to the library’s strategic plan and vision which says it will be a “welcoming and inclusive center in the community.”
In response to a concerned citizen’s email, Denton City Council Member Brian Beck pointed to the Denton 2030 plan, saying it includes “specific goals about diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
About its community vision, the plan states, “We retain our sense of community and shared values, while welcoming new arrivals and celebrating growing diversity.”
It also states that “The City of Denton is a healthy, family-friendly community which sees its youth as its most valuable resource; a resource worthy of investment in education, healthful recreation, and opportunities for challenging and rewarding employment and engagement in civic affairs.”
Jill Glover, the State Republican Executive Committeewoman for District 12 which includes Denton County, expressed her concerns about taxpayer-funded transgender programming. “One of the Republican Party of Texas priorities was ending the gender modification of children. We are strong supporters of the traditional family,” she told The Texan.
“We do not want children to be deceived by adults. This whole direction is destructive for children,” she added.
In August, the Texas Department of Family Protective Services announced it will consider unnecessary gender modification surgeries child abuse. This was after Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter requesting the determination.
The Texas legislature did not pass any legislation about gender modification during the regular or any of the three special legislative sessions this year.
Update: The City of Denton announced that its branch library would no longer be hosting the planned transgender storytime on November 20, citing “safety concerns for staff and patrons.” It also stated that it plans to reschedule the event at a later date.
After originally titling the event “transgender storytime,” the city is now referring to it as “Rainbow StoryTime” and claims that “this event is not focused on teaching children about gender identity or anything relating to sex or sexual orientation.”
“We are thankful that the City of Denton heard the outcry of concerned parents and other citizens. We realize there may be attempts to reschedule the event, and so we must always be ready to take a stand to protect innocent children,” Glover said in reply to an inquiry by The Texan.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.