Transgender Book Sparks Controversy at Wisconsin School


Last week a 6-year-old student arrived at Mount Horeb Primary Center in Wisconsin to share her new identity with her classmates. Her mother said she was going to tell “who she really is.”

To support the students transition from male to female and to help her peers understand this change, the school was to have the book “I Am Jazz” read and discussed. The book is the true story of Jazz Jennings, star of a reality show on TLC. Jazz is a transgender girl, writes Amanda Finn for the Wisconsin State Journal.

But Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative Christian organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group, warned that the school would be sued if the book, which overrides parental rights, was read in a classroom.

The Mount Horeb student’s mother said that instructing about inclusion is vital to her daughter’s successful gender transition. She praised the school for its support and said that children need to be taught to respect other people’s differences at a young age.

A letter dated Nov. 19 sent to parents by the school said, “We are taking several steps to support gender-variant students and their families.”

“People express their gender in a variety of ways,” the letter continued. “Gender-variant children include children whose identities, appearances, behaviors or interests challenge the expectations associated with their gender assigned at birth.”

But on Wednesday the district issued a statement that explained that it would allow the Board of Education to evaluate the needs of all parties involved and address the issue for which there is currently no policy. The mother of the transgender child said parents were not given enough notice about the reading.

Part of the problem was that the child had issues that needed to be addressed quickly. Children between the ages of five and seven often become anxious or depressed during their transition, especially if the process is delayed or postponed.

As early as three-years of age, the student had begun to say she felt like a girl and asked why she had boy parts. The children in her class have accepted her change, but, says her mother, the adults have not.

The decision to hand the issue over to the Board of Education comes after a controversial bill that would stop transgender students from using bathroom and locker room accommodations for the gender with which they identify. The bill would require that special arrangements be made for transgender students.

Two readings of the book were scheduled for Wednesday at Mount Horeb High School’s Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) at the flag pole and another at the Mount Horeb Library.

The Southern Poverty Law Center also says the Liberty Counsel advocates for “anti-LGBT discrimination, under the guise of religious liberty,” writes Shaun Bartel for the Ledger Gazette.

But some believe that those who express their personal preferences, regardless of the toll it takes on normal boys and girls, are out of line. Breitbart’s Austin Ruse shares that a 2010 study by a Census Department official found that 0.03% of Americans have changed their names to a name associated with the other sex.

Ruse writes that Jazz started his career on YouTube, became a success with progressives, and now has a show of his own on TLC. He adds that Jazz considers himself “pansexual” meaning he is gender blind when it comes to his sexual attractions.

Liberty Counsel says Jazz has been permitted to undergo harmful gender reassignment and drug therapy, and has been allowed to take hormone blockers that have resulted in permanent physical changes to his body.