State Farm drops support for program that promotes LGBTQ education for children
State Farm has ended its partnership with a nonprofit that promotes LGBTQ education for children.
The Bloomington-based insurer dropped its support for Chicago-based GenderCool after receiving backlash.
GenderCool executive director Jen Grosshandler said the group worked with State Farm about a year ago to provide books on gender equity to children ages 5 and older than state agents and employees. Farm could distribute to teachers, libraries and community centers across the country.
Shortly after the media surfaced about the program, State Farm called off the partnership.
The non-profit organization Consumers’ Research launched its own campaign called “Like a Creepy Neighbor”, changing the company’s slogan to mock the insurer for its association with GenderCool.
“They made the decision that was right for them to enter into our partnership,” Grosshandler said of the company’s decision. She added that all the attention that resulted from State Farm’s decision has been good for fundraising and sparked a conversation they want to have about gender identity.
“There have been so many people and so many different partners, perspectives and business partners reaching out to us with the most amazing words of support,” Grosshandler said.
GenderCool lists 22 companies on its website that it calls partners and supporters, including Nike, NBC Universal, Indeed, and insurance companies Allstate and Prudential.
Grosshandler said many companies are taking the time to better understand the next-generation workforce, as one in five Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ.
State Farm said in a statement that it supports organizations that provide resources for parents to have conversations about gender and identity with their children at home, but “we do not support the mandatory curriculum in schools on this subject.
“We will continue to explore how we can support our associates, as well as organizations that align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, including the LGBTQ+ community,” the statement added.
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation named State Farm one of the best places to work for LGBTQ equality.
The GenderCool story
Grosshandler, who has a 16-year-old transgender daughter, said she helped start GenderCool about five years ago after meeting so many transgender and non-binary kids who she described as cool, interesting, successful and relatable. She said she wanted to provide a venue for these children to share their stories.
“But when I went looking for this information anywhere, online, offline, I couldn’t find their stories,” she said. “Instead, I found an avalanche of negative, inaccurate and often sensational information about these young people.”
Grosshandler said she was troubled that so many people had formed negative opinions about people who identify as transgender when a majority of Americans surveyed said they had never met someone who was transgender. .