A Utah school district is conducting a review of its literature after a teacher read a book to her third-grade class about a transgender student.
The book, Call Me Max, follows the story of a biological girl who identifies as a boy and wants to be called “Max” by the teacher. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group, has endorsed the book and calls it an “introduction to what it means to be transgender.”
The book was read by a third-grade teacher to her students at Horizon Elementary in Murray, Utah, which is part of the Murray School District.
A student brought the book from home and asked the teacher to read it during storytime, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
She deflected questions about the book – including one about puberty – but a few of the students went home and told their parents what had happened. Parents then contacted the district, angry that the book had been read, according to The Tribune.
The district is now reviewing the books within its “equity book bundles,” which includes titles about racial diversity but also about LGBT issues. A book for fifth graders spotlights the late gay politician Harvey Milk, while a book for sixth graders is titled Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History. Call Me Max is not part of the bundle.
“As a district, we recognize and acknowledge the concerns,” a letter sent to families states. “We are committed to learning from this experience and doing better.”
Kyle Lukoff, the author of Call Me Max, told the Salt Lake Tribune the book is written for a kindergarten to third-grade audience.
The subject of transgenderism, Lukoff said, needs to be addressed in elementary schools.
“It’s only a problem if you think that being transgender is itself wrong,” Lukoff told the newspaper. “And it’s not. That’s something the parent then has to work through.”
Joseph Backholm, the Family Research Council’s senior fellow for biblical worldview and strategic engagement, called the book a “transparent attempt to make children comfortable with the idea of changing gender.”
Christians, he said, oppose bullying, but they disagree with the Left over the best solution.
“For many on the Left, the only way to solve the serious and tragic challenges of children who identify as LGBT is to create a world in which everyone affirms their identities and choices,” Backholm wrote in a blog. “For Christians, that isn’t an option. But there can still be common ground because everyone wants to stop bullying. But even if we have the same goal, conflict will arise if our tactics are different. Some believe the best way to stop bullying is to encourage kindness and develop an atmosphere of respect despite differences. Others, however, believe the best way to stop bullying is to eliminate our differences and require conformity to a single set of beliefs.”
He applauded the parents for taking a stand.
“When you engage with people who believe the solution to bullying is creating a world in which everyone believes the same things, conflict is inevitable,” Backholm wrote. “But it’s still worth it. It’s worth it because as parents, we aren’t fighting for our reputation or our social standing, we are fighting for the minds and hearts of our kids.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Monkey Business Images
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.