by Mary Margaret Olohan
A 10-year-old transgender child quoted the Bible testifying before Texas lawmakers on bills banning transgender procedures and surgeries for minors.
Kai Shappley spoke to lawmakers Monday regarding Texas Senate Bill 1646, legislation that classifies it as child abuse for anyone to administer puberty suppression drugs, hormone replacement therapy, transgender surgeries or medical procedures to minors.
Video footage posted by the American Civil Liberties Union shows the 10-year-old child reading remarks from an iPhone, criticizing legislators for “attacking me since pre-K” and explaining, “I’ve been having to explain myself since I was three or four years old.”
Shappley formerly starred in the short ACLU film, “Kai Shappley: A Trans Girl Growing Up In Texas,” and acted in the 2020 Netflix series The Baby-Sitters Club, in which the child played the trans character Bailey.
NEW: In a short documentary we're releasing with @them, seven year old Kai Shappley navigates growing up as a trans child in Texas, where she's been banned from the girls' bathroom.
— ACLU (@ACLU) October 10, 2018
“I am in fourth grade now,” Shappley said, the video showed. “When it comes to bills that target trans youth, I immediately feel angry. It’s been very scary and overwhelming. It just — it makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist.”
Shappley quoted a passage from the Gospel of Matthew in which a master tells his servants, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
“God made me, God loves me for who I am, and God does not make mistakes,” Shappley said. “You should be careful how you treat the least of these.”
The 10-year-old also said that “my mom has been giving everything she has to stand up for me,” but noted that “these new things y’all are trying to do, we both are having to advocate for each other because you are now targeting a great mom and a great nurse.”
“My mom needs her nursing license to take care of me and my siblings,” Shappley continued. “Bullying is bad. Please stop. Don’t make bad choices. It’s never too late to turn it around.”
Kimberley Shappley, the child’s mother, previously expressed fears that Texas’s legislation would take away her nursing license. She told the Daily Caller News Foundation Friday that “the proposed bills target gender affirming healthcare providers which I am.”
“We used her own words from her interviews over the last few weeks and condensed it into her 2 minute allotment,” Kimberley Shappley told the DCNF. “If you have seen her documentary you will see her at 5 or 6 years old. She is intelligent and articulate.”
“Kai has socially transitioned,” the mother added. “That means she wears clothes she’s comfortable in. Surgeries and drugs are not used in kids her age.”
"I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices."
Kai Shappley, a trans girl from Texas, testifies against the state's proposal to ban trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care.
We are so grateful for her relentless advocacy. pic.twitter.com/3k1IHiXCmC
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 15, 2021
In a 2017 Good Housekeeping piece, Kimberley Shappley described the moment when she discovered that her son, “born Joseph Paul Shappley,” was a girl.
“I remember one night when Kai was very young, and I was tucking her into bed,” Shappley told the publication. “Her legs were cold and, concerned, I lifted the sheets, discovering she had taken a pair of panties off a baby doll and put them on herself. It was constricting her blood circulation and if she’d slept that way overnight, it could have become very dangerous.”
Just shared a snack with @KaiShappley at 3am. More antiTrans bills moving fwd in the TX house & senate. Reminding Kai she’s safe and I’ll do whatever it takes to protect her. Trying to wait for her to fall asleep so I can cry. #txlege 1/3
— Kimberly Shappley 😇 she/her (@shappleyk) April 16, 2021
“After that experience, I realized I could no longer ignore something very real about my child: My son, born Joseph Paul Shappley, is a girl,” she said.
Kimberly Shappley described her “internal struggle” over the matter, saying she came from a conservative Christian background.
But “by the time Kai was 3 1/2 years old,” the mother said. “I couldn’t ignore it anymore. She was verbalizing that she was a girl at least six times a day.”
“When Kai was finally allowed to be her true self, she blossomed,” Kimberly Shappley told Good Housekeeping. “I put princess panties in her drawer and she fell to the ground, hugging those panties and sobbing, saying, ‘Thank you, Mommy, thank you.’ Within a few short weeks of letting her transition, she was no longer lying, no bed-wetting, no more nightmares. I now have a happy, healthy, outgoing, loving, beautiful, sweet little girl who loves Jesus and loves her brothers.”
There is an active Twitter account in the 10-year-old’s name that frequently comments on the progress of the Texas legislation.
“Favor,” the account “Kai Shappley HER/SHE” tweeted around 2:26 a.m. Friday, retweeting an ACLU tweet about Texas lawmakers and advocating against the ban. “Please call them for me, please.”
The child’s mother told the DCNF that “public profile accounts are parent monitored as required by the social media platforms.”
“All negative comments are deleted before she can get on her accounts,” Kimberly Shappley said.
The ACLU did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.