under pressure

State Farm’s Pride season is off to a very bad start

Pride season is nearly in full swing, and that means virtually every company (except Chick-fil-a) will soon roll out their annual rainbow-tinted initiatives. State Farm insurance company appears to have tripped out of the gate.

Less than 24 hours after it became public, the company has abandoned a program to distribute LGBTQ-themed books to teachers, community centers, and libraries following a right-wing outrage campaign.

Just hours after news outlets started covering the book initiative, an internal email went out to all State Farm agents and staff members announcing the cancelation.

Victor Terry, chief diversity officer and vice president of public affairs, told employees State Farm would back out of its partnership with GenderCool, an organization that promotes LGBTQ teaching via speaking events, mentorship programs, DEI/HR consulting, and advising for parents of transgender children.

“Conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents,” the email, obtained and published by the homophobic Libs of TikTok account, read. “We don’t support required curriculum in schools on this topic. We support organizations providing resources for parents to have these conversations,” Terry wrote.

The abrupt turnaround came after a whistleblower accused the company of “targeting” children as young as 5 with books about sexuality and gender identity, leading to intense backlash online. The program was intended to “increase representation of LGBTQ+ books and support our communities in having challenging, important and empowering conversations with children age 5+,” according to State Farm.

“At State Farm, we are committed to diversity and inclusion; they aren’t just words, they are truly part of how we do business and lead our organization. We recognize and value the diversity of all people, and support a culture of respect and inclusion in the communities in which we live and work, as well as our workplace. The LGBTQ+ community is a valued part of the communities we serve and are valued members of our workplace,” State Farm said in a statement.

In another statement emailed to Queerty, the company said: “State Farm’s support of a philanthropic program, GenderCool, has been the subject of news and customer inquiries. This program that included books about gender identity was intended to promote inclusivity.

“We support organizations that provide resources for parents to have conversations about gender and identity with their children at home. We do not support required curriculum in schools on this topic.

“As a result, we have made the decision we will no longer be affiliated with the organization. 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.

“We recognize and value the diversity of all people and support a culture of respect and inclusion in the communities in which we live and work, as well as our workplace.”

The move hasn’t gone over well among many LGBTQ observers:

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