Mother of nine-year-old trans girl turned Netflix star says embracing her daughter made her a better Christian

Josh Milton July 8, 2020
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Mum of trans girl says embracing her daughter made her a better Christian

Kim Shappley (L) swam against the current in conservative Houston to secure equal treatment for her daughter, Kai. (Screen capture via FOX26)

The nine-year-old trans daughter of an evangelical mother in Texas – who became the unlikely firebrand for LGBT+ equality – is starring in the new Netflix series reboot of The Baby-Sitters Club. 

The web-show is an adaptation of Ann M Martin’s series from the 1980s and 1990s about a group of entrepreneurial teens. Its fourth episode sees Kai Shappley’s character misgendered by a doctor and sees one of the main characters, Mary Anne, reprimand him.

It almost mirrors the real-life activism of Kai’s mother, Pearland, Houston native Kim Shappley. A devout Christian and ordained minister – in one of the most anti-LGBT parts of America – who fought against school administrators in 2016 to try to secure equal treatment equality for Kai.

Looking back on the pair’s life, Kim told FOX26 that learning to love Kai for who she is has made her a better Christian.

Mother of trans Netflix star: ‘I’ve learned to be kinder and more empathetic.’

When Kai, then aged five, started nursery in the state, educators blocked her from using the girl’s bathroom.

Kim took the Pearland Independent School District on by making an appeal at a school board meeting while also lodging a complaint to the state capitol. Fighting against the vastly conservative

“The bathroom bill was kind of a challenge to us,” Kim explained, “and to not have a clean sweeping victory, we decided to move to Austin.

“Just so she can be treated the same as her peers.”

“I’ve learned to be a better Christian,” Kim reflected, “I’ve learned to be kinder and more empathetic.”

Kim said Kai’s role in The Baby-Sitters Club makes “perfect sense”. “I knew she was a good fit.”

Kai said on the “It made me feel good, feel special,” before reflecting on the trans pioneers that paved the way to help Kai be who she wants to be.

“I wouldn’t have gotten where I was if it wasn’t for the trans women who did all that protesting before I was even alive,” she said.

She then said that her inspiration Dolly Parton is her icon – facts are facts – and that she wants to be an astrophysicist when she’s older. Maybe the kids are alright, after all?


More: Austin, Christianity, Houston, netflix, Religion, Texas

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