(PHOTOS) Gender creative story timeA child reads a book under the shade of a large tree during the gender-creative story time event hosted by the Oakhurst Elementary PTA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee and Charis Books and More in Decatur on Saturday, March 5. Photo by Dean Hesse.
This story has been updated.
By Dean Hesse, contributor
Decatur, GA — In Decatur on Saturday, March 5, the Oakhurst Elementary School PTA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee partnered with Charis Books and More to host a gender-creative story time event for gender-creative, transgender and non-binary children and their families.
Robyn Painter, a member of the DEI committee said, “I’m a mom in the community. I’ve got two great kids at Oakhurst Elementary, one of whom is transgender, and I’ve got an older girl. We just feel really strongly that all our kids need to be treated the same. We’ve seen what’s been going on in the Georgia Legislature with a discriminatory bill coming through against transgender kids, and we wanted to create an event that spotlighted transgender kids and transgender families in a really positive way.”
Painter runs a Facebook group called Affirming & Supportive Families of Decatur’s Gender Creative Kids! and invites families with younger children who are gender-creative, quirky or transgender to join at: www.facebook.com/groups/1051390031871614
After reading to children and their families gathered around the front lawn at Charis, E. R. Anderson, executive director of Charis Circle, the non-profit programming arm of Charis Books said, “Trans kids and families are under attack right now legislatively in 17 states. Not only is it a giant waste of resources, it’s really, really scary to these kids who just want to have normal fun lives, scary to their parents who just want to do the right thing for their kids.”
In Georgia, bills under consideration include S.B. 435, the “Save Girls’ Sports Act.”
“Every single person should be worried about this,” Anderson said. “There are tons of data that excluding trans kids from sports doesn’t make women safer, doesn’t maker girls safer, doesn’t give them more of an advantage in sports, all it does is put trans kids in danger. So, what happened today was really important to me because it’s a reminder that kids are kids and getting together to do fun things and read stories, that’s what we do best here at Charis and that’s what school should be about, kids getting to be kids and hang out together.”
Jesse A. McNulty, Sr. who brought his children ages 6 and 8 to the event is a middle school teacher for City Schools of Decatur, a board member of Georgia Safe Schools Coalition and co-founder and co-facilitator of Trans and Friends, a support group that meets through Charis on the first and third Monday of each month.
The Trans and Friends Youth Group for ages 12 to 18 lasts from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. followed by the 18 + Trans and Friends Adult Group from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The meetings are currently being held on Zoom and McNulty said he’d like to see more participation in the youth group.
“I’ve been doing this work with young gender non-conforming people since 2003,” McNulty said. “We’re doing this work 24/7 pretty much, and it’s important, it’s long overdue and with the hostile laws coming down against trans kids being able to be themselves, never mind non-conforming kids who just happen to be cisgender kids with long or short hair, there’s a long way to go for society to just be accepting and loving to all of our children.”
You can register for Trans and Friends meetings at: www.charisbooksandmore.com/event.
Charis Books and More is located at 184 S. Candler St. Decatur, 30030. For store hours, events and other information, visit their website at charisbooksandmore.com.
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