Breaking News
More () »

Pride challenge removed from Fort Worth Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge after complaints

After Mayor Parker received complaints, she directed the Fort Worth Public Library to remove the Pride portion of the Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge.

FORT WORTH, Texas — It’s the latest controversy around reading.

The Fort Worth Public Library removed an LGBTQ reading challenge from its Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge after city leadership received complaints.  

The Fort Worth Public Library and Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker teamed up for the annual program, which allows children to earn badges for completing various reading challenges.

“The challenge is designed to help your child fall in love with reading,” Parker said in a promotional video.

During the initial launch of the program, it featured an optional Pride badge for school age children who completed various challenges. The challenges included reading a book that featured an LGBTQ character, reading about the history of Pride month, and drawing a self-portrait that “highlights your uniqueness.”

After the reading program launched, the group For Liberty and Justice made a social media post and called the reading challenge an “anti-biblical agenda towards children.” The group urged others to reach out to the Mayor’s office and complain.  

According to a spokesperson for Mayor Parker, she received more than 30 email complaints about the program’s Pride content.

Fort Worth Public Library communications manager Theresa Davis told WFAA they began including the Pride badge in library programming back in 2020.

After the mayor’s office received complaints, the mayor directed the library system to either change the name of the Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge or remove the Pride badge.

Davis said the library had already made an investment on marketing and promotional materials for the program, so it selected the option to remove the Pride badge.

Some parents have expressed frustration over the decision on the city library’s Facebook page.

In one comment, a user said she was "disappointed to see that the Pride Activity Badge was pulled from the Summer Reading Challenge. I have always found the badges educational and age appropriate." 

The user's comment went on to say it’s “sad to see the city capitulate to a small group who want to limit opportunities to engage with diverse books and educational experiences.”

A spokesperson for Parker told WFAA the mayo had concerns over what was age appropriate for children.

Mayor Parker’s full statement is below:

“I did not approve the optional badges and activities that were set to be included in the challenge before it went live. I want all families to feel welcomed to participate, understanding that parents are the right ones to make decisions for the activities that their children are engaging in. My aim is not to tell families what is right for them, but instead allow families to make those decisions on reading and learning in ways that make sense for each of them. Our Library continues to have a wide collection of resources that fit the interests of every family.

Ultimately, my goal is not to make any political statement. The program is just about fun and encouraging literacy for families during the summer season.”

Fort Worth Public Library will not remove any LGBTQ-related books from any of its libraries, Davis said. She added that this is the first time a public official has asked them to adjust programming.

Before You Leave, Check This Out