This proud Texas Christian mom is taking on the world for her trans daughter’s rights
An evangelical mother in Texas has become an unlikely firebrand for transgender equality – as she fights for her daughter’s rights.
Pearland, Houston mother Kim Shappley is a devout Christian and ordained minister – in one of the most anti-LGBT parts of America.
Houston last year became the focal point of a transgender rights battle last year when residents voted to repeal a local LGBT rights ordinance after lobbying from religious groups.
But Ms Shappley is swimming against the tide in the conservative-dominated state, for the sake of her five-year-old transgender daughter Kai – who insisted she was a girl from age 3.
The mother says she prayed her child would grow out of it, and spent months of trying to make her act like a boy.
Ms Shappley recalled: “We would take the girl toys away and Kai would pull a shirt down to her waist and make it a skirt. A shirt would get tied onto her head and it would make long hair.”
“I would hold Kai down, and make her get a haircut while she screamed ‘no mommy, no mommy’…. my child would pray and ask to let her go to Heaven and be with Jesus.
“Kai was begging the Lord to let her die.”
After seeing the extent of harm she was causing, the mother realised the error of her ways and vowed to always embrace Kai for who she is.
And that’s why when Kai’s school informed her that they would treat her daughter as a male student, she vowed to fight the decision.
The proud mum is taking on Pearland Independent School District in her bid to secure equality for Kai.
She made an appeal at a school board meeting this week – and also made her case at the state capitol.
Holding up a photo of Kai, she said: “This is the face of a transgender girl in Texas. I want you to look at this little girl, my little girl. Do we as a state want to force her into a men’s bathroom? We are targeting innocent little kids for political gain.
She told the school board: “I’m not fighting over bathrooms. I’m fighting over her life. I’m fighting about her well-being.
“Basic human rights. That you can’t take someone that is different from you and separate and segregate them.”
But the school board say they won’t be changing their policies.
They said: “Pearland ISD’s stance on transgender students remains children whose parents declare them transgender must go to the bathroom for the sex indicated on their birth certificate.
“Such students have also been allowed to use a private bathroom (such as in the nurse’s station) if they are so inclined.
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“All Pearland ISD kindergarten classrooms have a private, gender-neutral bathroom within the classroom for student use.”
Ms Shappley summed up: “I’m scared for my daughter, I’m scared for myself, I’m scared for the other transgender children… for every one mom who is brave enough or stupid enough to come and say this is wrong, there are a lot of families who are still in hiding.
“For my brothers and sisters in Christ, to continue to make me out to make something less than a follower of Jesus Christ because my child was born transgender, because I’m standing up for my child – it’s not okay.
“It’s time for the Church to rise up and say ‘we are here to be gracious and merciful and extend love’.
“My kid is five years old, and she is committing no sin by being her authentic self, and I am committing no sin as her mother by helping her turn into everything that she was meant to be.”