Last night, nearly 600 people gathered at a public library in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, to show their support for transgender inclusion in their schools and community. 
I am JazzThe parents in the community hosted a reading of I Am Jazz, a book by transgender teen and HRC Foundation Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings at the Mount Horeb Public Library.
The event occurred after a school in the area cancelled a reading of Jennings’ book last month after the notoriously anti-LGBT group Liberty Counsel threatened the school with legal action. The school wanted to introduce the book to the students to better understand a transgender student in their school.
I am JazzParents, children, and school staff filled the library, showing support for transgender inclusion and respect. According to Wisconsin State Journalthe organizers expected only 15 people. 
“Our family would like to express our sincere appreciation for the overwhelming support that this community has shown to us.  Many of you may not even know who we are, but have stepped up to do a truly amazing thing and show us that you are behind us 100 percent,” the family of the transgender child said in a statement.  “This has not been easy for us, but you have provided us with the light we needed in an otherwise uncertain and difficult time.  We are proud to be a member of this community and want to truly thank everyone who has provided us with such caring and compassionate words and actions.  In the midst of all of the media attention that this important matter has stirred up, we just want everyone to remember that at the center of this is a brave little girl who can now be who she really is.  And you have all helped to make that happen in a positive way for her and her family.  For that we are, and always will be truly thankful.” 
As soon as the Liberty Counsel caught wind of the event, they were quick to take action against the school, threatening legal action and calling the reading a “propaganda session.”
To show their support, co-author Jessica Herthel and HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Director Johanna Eager were on hand to support Mt. Horeb school officials. HRC also gave away copies of “I Am Jazz” at the event.
I am Jazz“It was incredible,” Eager said. “The room was full of children and their parents who were supporters.”
While the Liberty Counsel’s mean-spirited attacks stopped the reading at the school, the community’s overwhelming encouragement shows that as transgender visibility increases, more and more Americans are showing their support for LGBT people of all ages. 

Photos c/o Melissa Austin.

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