Register now! March 5, 2024. National Day of Reading: A Celebration of Stories Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Youth. Human Rights Campaign, welcoming Schools. \National Education Association. American Association of School Librarians.

Champion Diverse Voices: Celebrate National Day of Reading on March 5  

This blog post is by Jemaise Jones (He/Him), Senior Manager, Foundation Programs of Human Rights Campaign, a Unite Against Book Bans partner.

In a climate where book bans threaten the ability of young people to access diverse and inclusive literature, Welcoming Schools' National Day of Reading stands as a powerful symbol of resistance and empowerment. By embracing this day, we honor the stories and experiences of trans and non-binary youth, amplify their voices, and send a resounding message that literature should be a source of knowledge, comfort, and validation for all. As we approach the 9th annual National Day of Reading on March 5th, 2024, let us join together in celebrating the power of storytelling and reaffirm our dedication to nurturing a more equitable and compassionate world for all. 

The inception of the National Day of Reading was a direct response to an attempt to silence and erase the experiences of trans and non-binary youth. In 2016, an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group pressured a school in Wisconsin to cancel their plans to read "I am Jazz," a book that follows the journey of a transgender student. In response, over 600 residents came together for a public reading of "I Am Jazz." This powerful display of solidarity and allyship sent a clear message that the Mount Horeb community stood firmly with transgender students and their families. This heartwarming display of unity highlighted the transformative power of literature and the profound impact it can have in shaping attitudes and fostering empathy. 

National Day of Reading serves as a beacon of hope and resilience, particularly as book bans targeting LGBTQ+ themes and stories have skyrocketed across the nation. These alarming bans not only limit access to valuable resources for all students, but they also send harmful messages to LGBTQ+ youth, signaling that their identities and experiences are not valid or worthy of representation. HRC's Welcoming Schools aims to uplift school communities with critical tools to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ+ and gender-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students. 

As we approach National Day of Reading, communities, educators, and allies must come together to fight back against book bans and support the rights of all youth to access literature that affirms their identities and experiences. By embracing the power of storytelling and promoting a culture of inclusivity, we can create a more compassionate and equitable society for trans and non-binary youth, where they are celebrated for who they are and empowered to thrive. This National Day of Reading, March 5th, 2024, let us reaffirm our commitment to championing diverse voices and fostering a love of reading that transcends boundaries and embraces all individuals, regardless of gender identity.  

Visit HRCF's Welcoming Schools program to access our Organizing Toolkit and register to host your own National Day of Reading: A Celebration of Stories Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Youth.