Post submitted by Johanna Eager, Welcoming Schools Program Director
Last week, thousands of people across the country in 23 states came together to read I Am Jazz on May 18 in a tremendous show of support for transgender and non-binary children. The readings, part of the National I Am Jazz School and Community Readings by HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools, and the National Education Association (NEA), took place in schools, libraries, and community centers across the country. They occurred anywhere and everywhere to show transgender and non-binary youth that they are seen, supported, and loved.
California Representative Jackie Speier read I Am Jazz on the floor of the U.S. House. Educators in Berkeley showed up in force thanks to an ongoing, strong Welcoming Schools partnership with Our Family Coalition, and hundreds of children in California had the chance to read the book. One teacher used the reading as an opportunity to help her students understand a non-binary teacher at their school.
From the Zumba instructor in Wisconsin who began his class with a reading of the award-winning book to the librarian who opened up her backyard and invited her neighbors to pull up a lawn chair and listen, people like you across the country used their passion and creativity to support transgender and non-binary children.
Each event was unique, but they all shared a common thread: affirming transgender and non-binary students. In a year of difficult setbacks for the transgender community, and transgender youth in particular, these readings took on even greater significance.
HRC's Welcoming Schools is the nation's premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and non-binary students.