School Pride Week celebration in Democrat-run district includes book reading about a transgender child


ELLICOTT, MD — To celebrate Pride Week, a Maryland school district will host a virtual book reading about a transgender child for its pre-K and elementary school students and their families on June 7.

The book is “Calvin,” written by JR and Vanessa Ford, who were inspired by their experience with their own transgender child.

Both authors are advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights, especially for transgender youth. According to the authors’ website:

“Vanessa is a lifelong educator who is passionate about equity in education. As part of this focus, Vanessa has compiled a number of resources that help guide schools and parents in navigating schools for LGBTQ+ youth.

“These are some of the resources that Vanessa has found to be most impactful for parents and educators. This is a non-exhaustive list, but a good starting point for those on this journey.”

The authors’ website, which also provides links to evaluate a school’s climate regarding inclusivity, notes about their book:

“Calvin has always known he’s a boy, even if the world sees him as a girl. Though his loving family is quick to support him, Calvin is nervous about what his friends and teachers will think…. when his school community rallies around him, those ‘what ifs’ melt away.

“Inspired by the authors’ own transgender child and accompanied by warm, joyous and inclusive illustrations, this must-have picture book celebrates kindness and empathy, and shows what it means to make someone feel safe, respected and welcomed.”

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The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), whose superintendent is Dr. Michael J. Martirano, will also give away free copies of the book to the first 50 families who register for the June 7 virtual reading, according to the school district’s registration form.

The district is celebrating Pride Week from June 6-12, and the “Calvin” reading is one of several free events it is running.

The book is about a 4-year-old girl who determines that she is really a boy, so the child ends up identifying and dressing up as a boy for the first day of preschool.

In the book, the child, “Calvin,” says:

“I’m not a girl. I’m a boy — a boy in my heart and in my brain.”

After the father defines the term “transgender” for his child, Calvin says:

“Being transgender means other people think you are one gender, but inside, you know you are a different one.”

Other Pride Week events include a “Rainbow Vision Reception” on June 6 at Busboys and Poets, a restaurant/bar/bookstore/community gathering place; a hike and a picnic on June 8; a “FUNdraiser” on June 9 for its 2023 Rainbow Conference; and a screening on June 10 of the PG rated “The Mitchells vs. the Machines,” a 2021 computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation that received critical acclaim for its LGBT representation.

Another film is also offered on June 10. The district describes the PG-13 rated film, “The Half of It,” as:

“A shy, straight-A Chinese-American student helps the school jock woo a girl whom, secretly, they both desire. They find themselves connecting and learn about the nature of love.”

On June 11, pre-K and elementary school students are invited to join older students in middle and high school, along with adult volunteers, and participate in a park cleanup.

The district also seeks presenters for its conference. Presenters can choose a 30-, 45-, 60- or 75-minute time slot.

In an email, the district spokesperson told The Washington Times:

“HCPSS Pride Week activities will be held outside of the school day, are completely voluntary, and most require pre-registration.”

The Washington Times also reported:

“The conservative Parents Defending Education, which has worked to publicize LGBT programs for young children, slammed the Howard County Public Schools System on Thursday.

“‘Who on earth writes a book like this, much less reads it to 4-year-olds? It’s astonishing that so many adults seem determined to deny children their innocence,’ said Nicole Neily, the group’s president.”

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