HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program Celebrates National Day of Reading: A Day to Rally Against Hate

by Jared Todd

9th Annual National Day of Reading celebrated as LGBTQ+ youth and their families face unprecedented, harmful and cruel legislative attacks on their welfare

Today, HRC’s National Day of Reading is engaging more than 100,000 people across the globe

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hosted its 9th annual Welcoming Schools National Day of Reading: A Celebration of Stories Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Youth, a day for thousands of students, educators, parents, caregivers, elected officials and allies to join in solidarity with transgender and non-binary students. The Welcoming Schools National Day of Reading is sponsored by the HRC Foundation as well as the National Educational Association (NEA), the country’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million educators across the U.S and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), representing over 7,000 school librarians in the U.S., Canada and abroad. Since 2016, over 1,500 readings have taken place on National Day of Reading across the globe, from the United States to Canada, Uganda and Dubai. This year, there are over 200 registered readings, with more than 100,000 people participating.

Recent state legislative sessions have been fraught with harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including bills that ban books and teachings about LGBTQ+ identities. A third of the over 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state houses last year were attacks on any form of queer or trans inclusion in the classroom. The wave of unrelenting legislative hate has only fueled anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, bullying and violence in communities throughout the nation – including in Owasso, Oklahoma, where 16-year old, nonbinary student Nex Benedict died the day after a brutal assault in their high school’s bathroom. According to the most recent FBI hate crimes report, school-based offenses on elementary, secondary and university campuses accounted for 10 percent of all hate crime offenses reported in 2022. People identifying as LGBTQ+ faced the third-highest number of reported hate crime offenses.

At a time when trans kids are under attack, from restrictions on medical care to banning books that share their stories, it’s more important than ever to uplift and celebrate every student for who they are. National Day of Reading is about educators, families, and communities showing up to support trans and non-binary youth with love and acceptance. When we prioritize inclusion and diversity in the classroom, we see better quality of life and more opportunity for success for our LGBTQ+ youth and all youth. It’s up to us as responsible adults to be there for our trans and queer youth – to show them that they are respected and valued in our world.”

Kelley Robinson, HRC President

HRC Foundation’s recent Youth Report shows that more than 46 percent of LGBTQ+ youth, including almost 55 percent of transgender and gender-expansive youth, feel unsafe in at least one school setting. And despite the pervasiveness of school bullying, many teachers and staff remain unaware — or are explicitly unhelpful when informed. This is why HRC’s Welcoming Schools resources and professional development training, including National Day of Reading events, are so vital to meeting the needs of LGBTQ+ students today.

The power of Welcoming Schools National Day of Reading lies in us rallying together to uplift our trans and non-binary youth when they need it most. It’s imperative that we continue to build more inclusive and welcoming learning environments for every student so that they can be empowered to succeed and grow as their authentic selves. The books students read play an integral role in the classroom experience and should be as diverse as the children reading them. When students see themselves and others around them represented, we teach them to embrace diversity and inclusion in all facets of their lives.”

Cheryl Greene, HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools Sr Director

The Roots of HRC’s National Day of Reading:

In 2016, an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group forced a school in Wisconsin to cancel plans to read I am Jazz in support of a transgender student. In response, more than 600 residents in a town of less than 8,000 showed up at a public reading organized by a parent to show the students that the community had their back. Every year, in honor of the Mount Horeb, WI community’s allyship, communities across the country join the HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program for its annual National Day of Reading.

About Welcoming Schools:

HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program is the nation’s most comprehensive, bias-based bullying prevention program in the nation to provide LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive professional development training, lesson plans, booklists and resources specifically designed for Pre K - 12 educators and youth-serving professionals.

To learn more, please visit To learn more about the National Day of Reading, please visit

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

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