Cartoon book about gender identity in New York middle school has parent furious

A parent in Dutchess County, New York is asking a local school why cartoon books about gender identity are available in her child’s middle school library.

Kristi Rollman was so surprised when her son told her about the inappropriate book at Union Vale Middle School that she asked her son to send her photos of the book, Being You: A First Conversation About Gender by Megan Madison.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Rollman told The Lion.

“When a baby is born, grown-ups might say ‘it’s a girl’ if their body has a vagina, or ‘it’s a boy’ if their body has a penis,” reads one page.

“Sometimes grown-ups aren’t sure, but they choose the words ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ anyway,” the book goes on, before asking kids, “What did your grown-ups call you when you were born?”

Another photo shows text saying it’s okay to always be changing your gender identity, and then suggests children should ponder their identity immediately.

“It’s okay to wonder: Am I a girl? Am I a boy? Am I both? Am I neither? Maybe you already know! There’s no right or wrong answer. And it’s okay if your answer changes. What do you wonder about yourself? What do you know?”

In an email sent to the school and shared with The Lion, Rollman told the district’s superintendent, Dr. Dave Moyer, that she has several problems with the book. 

“I have a very big problem with this- it implies that parents aren’t reliable [sources of information] with their thoughts and schools will help you feel better about being confused,” wrote Rollman.

“Sexual orientation is a PERSONAL PREFERENCE. It’s got nothing to do with academics… I mean come on! Why is this little kid cartoon book in a Middle School???” asked Rollman.

Rollman said that as a parent she has a right to know how such books are selected and demanded to know why books like this are available to her son. 

Rollman even offered to provide books that have nothing to do with sexual orientation if the school’s library was short on books. She understands there to be “numerous” books on gender in the library.

On Monday, Rollman told The Lion that the superintendent has responded to her email, saying he is looking into the book.

Critical gender theory has made its way into the nation’s schools over the last several years, funded in part by the GSA Network (previously called the Gay-Straight Alliance Network).

GSA spent nearly $3 million to open clubs in schools across the U.S.

As parents have pushed back, some state legislatures have also begun passing bills to restrict access to inappropriate books in school libraries.