Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker appeared to endorse LGBT and radical gender ideologies through her summer reading program for children.
The Fort Worth Public Library announced this week that its Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge would run June 1-August 12.
In the announcement video, Parker explains that the challenge is supposed to help children stay engaged with reading over the summer. To complete the summer reading challenge, children read books and complete activities to earn badges.
“The challenge is designed to help your child fall in love with reading, keep reading during the summer, and also help you find the time to read,” said Parker.
However, concerned citizens soon noticed that the challenge also encouraged children to read books with LGBT themes.
In Parker’s announcement video, a screenshot of the challenge webpage showcased one badge entitled “Pride.”
The challenge—assigned to school-age children—called on participants to learn about the science behind rainbows, draw a self-portrait that “highlights your uniqueness,” and learn about the history of “LGBT pride month.”
Children were also tasked with reading a book featuring an “LGBTQ+” protagonist.
On social media, For Liberty & Justice called on citizens to contact Parker with their “concerns and disappointment” and ask her to remove the pride badge from her summer reading challenge.
“We believe this is pushing an anti-biblical agenda straight towards our children, and we are calling on the body of Christ to TAKE A STAND,” said the organization.
Shortly after this call to action, the Fort Worth Public Library removed the pride badge from the children’s summer reading challenge.
However, the reading challenge for adults includes a badge entitled “Reading Adventure,” which encourages participants to read a book by “an author who is a different gender than you.” The challenge then links to a list of books “by trans and nonbinary authors.”
In response, Parker said the challenges were included without her knowledge.
“I did not approve the optional badges and activities that were set to be included in the challenge before it went live,” said Parker. “That badge has been removed.”
Despite her endorsement from Gov. Greg Abbott in 2021, this is not the first time Mayor Parker has come under fire for supporting radical gender ideology.
In an interview with Texas Tribune last year, Parker criticized Republican politicians’ approach to the issue of gender-confused children.
“I’m worried right now that you’re targeting families that are already incredibly vulnerable and in a really difficult circumstance, when there are so many other hundreds of thousands of kids and families that are in dangerous positions with no regard for the subject of transgender,” said Parker.
UPDATE: This article has been updated since publication to include a statement from Mayor Parker.