Catholic charity under fire for book reading urging kids to transcend 'gender binary'

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A Roman Catholic charity in New Jersey has come under fire for sponsoring a book reading earlier this week for children that featured a book encouraging kids to move "beyond the gender binary."

The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Trenton sponsored a reading of My Shadow Is Purple on Monday at the Hamilton Township Public Library in Hamilton, New Jersey, as first reported by The Daily Wire.

The 2022 book by Scott Stuart, which is available online and marketed to children aged 4 and up, describes itself as an "inspiring book about being true to yourself and moving beyond the gender binary," according to Amazon.

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"My dad has a shadow that’s blue as a berry and my mom's is as pink as a blossoming cherry," the child says in the book. "There’s only those choices, a two or a one. But mine is quite different. It’s both and it’s none. If theirs are straight then mine is a circle."

At one point in the story, when the boy goes to school wearing a suit made by his father combined with a skirt made by his mother, he is asked to choose between the two, whereupon he says, "My heart just starts racing and tears fill my eyes. I know I must choose, but don't understand why."

Devout Catholic parents who spoke to The Daily Wire expressed outrage at the content of the charity-sponsored book reading.

"As devout Catholics and parents to children 4 and 1 1/2, this book event really hit home for my wife and me," one father told the outlet. "We are in a state of complete disbelief that our Diocese would align itself with something so clearly in opposition to the teachings of our faith."

"We seriously question how this sponsorship is anything other than a sad example of secularized virtue signaling," he continued. "I would also like the Diocese of Trenton to explain how moving children 'beyond the gender binary' will move them closer to God?"

The boy in 'My Shadow Is Purple' is driven to tears when he is asked to choose a gender.
The boy in "My Shadow Is Purple" is driven to tears when he is asked to choose a gender. | Screenshot/YouTube/Reading Rocket

The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Trenton did not respond to The Christian Post's request for comment, but told The Daily Wire that the book fell under the purview of their educational mission and the contract it had with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families under the NJ Statewide Student Support Services Network (NJ4S).

"To that end, our NJ4S Mercer Hub team offers a wide variety of educational and prevention programs for students, families and educators to ensure the children in the county have access to behavioral health care as well as information about numerous issues that can impact a student’s mental health," a spokesperson for the Catholic charity told the outlet.

Stuart, who claims to be the father of a young boy "who loves all things Queen Elsa and princesses," has drawn backlash for the content of his children's books before.

Katherine Rinderle, who had been employed as a teacher for a decade, was fired last year after prompting complaints from parents for reading My Shadow is Purple to her 5th-grade students at Due West Elementary School in Cobb County, Georgia, last March.

My Shadow Is Pink, Stuart's other book, was published in 2020 and told the story of a young boy who is uncomfortable with male stereotypes because he wears dresses and sports a "pink shadow."

In the story, marketed as suitable for children as young as 3, the boy's father tells him, "Your shadow is pink, I see now it's true, it's not just your shadow, it's your innermost you."

The book made international headlines in 2023 when Christian parents Stephen and Joanne Evans retained legal counsel after pulling their 4-year-old son out of a Church of England primary school in Essex, England, for promoting the book, according to Fox News Digital.

"It's just a minefield, and children should not be subjected to this agenda," Stephen Evans told the outlet.

The policy group Transgender Trend pushed back against the themes of the book, noting it suggests to children that one's gender can be changed by assuming the clothes or hairstyles of the opposite sex.

"Telling young children that hairstyles and clothes will change their sex and that other children will then believe it to be true is a cruel deception, playing as it does on a child’s developmentally limited understanding of biology," the group said of the book. "It’s a cynical trick to use on children who are at an age when fantasy play is at its most intense."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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