After an uproar from conservative groups, State Farm Insurance has dropped its support of a group that said it was battling misinformed opinions on transgender youth.
“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,” State Farm said in a statement.
The insurer said it no longer supports the program allowing for distribution of books on gender identity in schools.
State Farm said it had provided some support to GenderCool Project, but a report this week from a conservative research group quickly made it to Fox News and other outlets around the country. A billboard truck created a stir in Tallahassee this week when it was seen repeatedly circling the Florida Capitol, warning that “Like a Creepy Neighbor, State Farm is There” — a play on State Farm’s well-known advertising jingle of “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There.”
The driver of the truck, Tommy Jimenez, said he had been hired to drive around the three-block Capitol area all day, all this week, while state lawmakers and insurance interests are gathered for the Florida special session on the insurance crisis.
State Farm’s decision was reported by the Washington Examiner on Monday night and by the Washington Post on Tuesday.
The website “likeacreepyneighbor.com” shows an email, purportedly from State Farm’s corporate responsibility analyst, inviting Florida agents to participate in the GenderCool project. “The project’s goal is to increase representation of LGBTQ+ books and support our communities in having challenging, important and empowering conversations with children age 5+,” the email reads.
The creepy neighbor website appears to be the work of Will Hild, head of a conservative group calling itself “Consumer’s Research,” the Post reported. The group is not affiliated with the decades-old Consumer Reports, which tests products.
The pushback from some groups appears to be part of a resurgent Republican-led effort, centered in Florida, about gender awareness teaching in public schools. The Florida Legislature earlier this year approved a bill that restricts what teachers can say to their students about gay and transgender people. Critics dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The reaction from State Farm is a change from its previous publicly announced support of the LGBTQ community, the Washington Post noted. In 2019, State Farm was among hundreds of companies and associations that signed on to an amicus brief supporting equality in the workplace in cases pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. The court eventually ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees from workplace discrimination based on sex.
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