The internal email, allegedly leaked by concerned State Farm employees, states that the company partnered with transgender youth advocacy group The GenderCool Project in a campaign to "increase representation of LGBTQ+ books and support our communities in having challenging, important and empowering conversations with children Age 5+."
The email is dated Jan. 18 and was sent by Jose Soto, a corporate responsibility analyst for State Farm in Florida. Soto asked for six State Farm insurance agents in Florida to volunteer to participate in the program by "receiving these books in March, then donating them to their community by the end of April."
"One day I look up 'boy who feels like girl' and found stories of people who were just like me," the book reads. "That's the first time I heard the word transgender. I realized I wasn't alone. The feeling I had been a girl finally made sense."
Facing a growing backlash that includes calls to boycott the company, however, State Farm released a second statement saying it had ended its partnership with GenderCool.
"Conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents. We don’t support required curriculum in schools on this topic. We support organizations providing resources for parents to have these conversations," the company said.
"We no longer support the program allowing for distribution of books in schools," it continued. "We will continue to explore how we can support organizations that provide tools and resources that align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion."
Will Hild, the executive director for Consumers' Research, was unimpressed by the company's response and called on the company to do more to "reverse the damage done."
Specifically, Hild argued that State Farm should hire a third-party auditor to "get to the bottom of this breach of trust," locate exactly which school, public library, and community center the books were donated to, and publish the results and notify families living in the affected areas.
The GenderCool Project describes itself as "a youth-led movement bringing positive change to the world." The organization's website features a group of young transgender or gender non-conforming "Champions," who are "helping replace misinformed opinions with positive experiences meeting transgender and non-binary youth who are thriving."