State Farm Insurance halted its efforts to donate books that support LGBTQ inclusivity to Florida public school students after conservatives accused it of engaging in “woke indoctrination.”
The insurance company was working alongside the GenderCool Project, an organization dedicated to spreading awareness about transgender and nonbinary youth, to distribute the books.
But it switched course this week after an internal company email was obtained by conservative nonprofit organization Consumers’ Research.
Consumers’ Research’s executive director, Will Hild, accused State Farm on Monday of attempting to indoctrinate young kids by providing LGBTQ-inclusive books to young students in Florida, where the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was recently signed into law.
The new legislation bans any type of education on sexual orientation and gender identity in most elementary schools, and also allows parents to sue school districts that violate the law.
“Emails leaked to [Consumers’ Research] from concerned [State Farm] employees show the company engaged in the woke indoctrination of kids age 5+,” Hild wrote on Twitter. “State Farm partnered with The GenderCool Project — which aims to have conversations with children about being Transgender and Non-Binary.”
On Tuesday, State Farm told Insider it would no longer work with the GenderCool Project, which it said had recently been the “subject of news and customer inquiries.”
“This program that included books about gender identity was intended to promote inclusivity,” the company said in a statement to Insider. “We support organizations that provide resources for parents to have conversations about gender and identity with their children at home. We do not support required curriculum in schools on this topic.”
State Farm said it “will no longer be affiliated with the organization.”
“We will continue to explore how we can support our associates, as well as organizations that align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, including the LGBTQ+ community,” the company told Insider.
GenderCool co-founder and Executive Director Jen Grosshandler confirmed to HuffPost that it is no longer working with State Farm.
“We appreciate the opportunity to have worked together,” Grosshandler said in a statement. “The outpouring of support from communities across the country we’ve received tells us the work GenderCool does has never been more important. There are hundreds of thousands of transgender and non-binary young people in this country, and they are thriving.”
“Our mission is to simply help people meet these remarkable young people. We know when this happens, opinions evolve, and that’s a great thing.”
There has been a concerted effort by conservatives across the U.S. to ban books that include depictions of racism and LGTBQ experiences. Conservative states such as Utah, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana have either introduced or signed legislation into law banning critical race theory— an academic framework that conservatives have wrongly claimed is being pushed on children — from being taught in public schools, according to NBC News.
The focus on LGBTQ education has already impacted the availability of these materials. A report released in April by the literary organization PEN America found that over 1,000 books connected to race and the LGBTQ community are no longer in circulation.