Amber Briggle is the mother of a transgender child and has worked with the Denton Public Library since 2018 to host storytime events aimed at fostering accepting environments for transgender kids and adults.
The library received threats from around the state about this week’s event, so Briggle decided to make adjustments.
“Trans kids have been through so much this year,” Briggle said. “We’re not going to cancel a storytime. These books didn’t even have the word transgender in them. But if they did, reading a book with a transgender theme doesn’t turn a kid transgender. It just makes trans kids feel empowered.”
The complaints reached Denton City Council members. Jim Mann, from New Life Church in the city, messaged lawmakers, “The sexualization of our children is completely immoral and this is clearly an agenda-driven event. It is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money.”
He went on to write, “The public library should be a place of learning — not of division. There are a LOT of us out here who will be letting you know our thoughts.”
The event has now moved to Armadillo Ale Works, and will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m.
Initially changing the venue wasn’t an easy feat. After the library cancelled the event, Briggle started looking for new locations.
At first, she considered holding it at the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship parking lot. She thought it would be ideal to hold the event outside, since some kids may not be fully vaccinated by the time of the event.
“I woke up in the morning, with second thoughts about having it be an outdoor event at all, because all it takes is one bully with a megaphone to stand on the streets, exercising his constitutional right, to cause disruption and to intimidate kids,” she said.
That’s when she heard from Armadillo Ale Works with an offer to use its large space for the storytime.
“This is what makes Denton, Denton. People pulling together and making this happen,” she added.
Volunteers will be reading “Red: A Crayon’s Story” by Michael Hall; “Julian is a Mermaid” by Jessica Love; and “Calvin” by JR and Vanessa Ford