A Texas mother is fighting the local school district for her transgender daughter’s right to use the girls’ bathroom, arguing that the district’s current stance encourages bullying and endangers her daughter, the Houston Chronicle is reporting.
Kimberly Shappley’s daughter, “Kai,” will start kindergarten in the fall. Although Kai was born biologically male, she has identified as a girl since she was old enough to talk, and Shappley is raising her as a girl. And, Shappley says, as a girl, “Kai” should be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom at school.
— Laura Skelding (@laura_skelding) May 31, 2016
The Pearland Independent School District doesn’t see it that way — and they’ve got Texas law on their side. Texas requires all children in public schools to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex assigned at birth. Individual school districts are allowed to make certain accommodations, such as letting transgender kids use the bathroom in the nurse’s station, for example. And that’s just what the Pearland ISD does, according to a statement via KTRK (Houston).
“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. All Pearland ISD kindergarten classrooms have a private, gender-neutral bathroom within the classroom for student use.”
For Shappley and her daughter, that’s not good enough. Speaking to the school board Monday night, Shappley said that requiring transgender kids to use a separate bathroom creates an attitude among the other children that transgender kids deserve to be singled out. That’s an attitude that leads to bullying, she says.
“You are increasing the risk of suicide among these children. I am a mom of a little girl who I want to live. I’m fighting for her happiness. I’m fighting for her freedom.”
— Alexa Ura (@alexazura) May 31, 2016
At Monday night’s school board meeting, officials didn’t respond to her pleas — the matter of transgender bathroom access wasn’t on the agenda. But Shappley isn’t likely to find many sympathetic ears on the Pearland ISD School Board: Pearland ISD superintendent John Kelly issued a statement several months ago in opposition to the Obama administration’s guidelines that schools should allow transgender kids to use whichever restroom they’re most comfortable with.
“What’s next? Legalizing pedophilia and polygamy?”
Back in June, Shappley spoke to KTRK about raising a transgender daughter.
Born Joseph Paul, “Kai” has been identifying as a girl for as long as she could talk. By age three, Joseph Paul was wearing shirts as skirts, and was asking for girls’ underwear.
Shappley, a devout Christian, says that “Kai’s” transition rocked her faith to the core. She tried to push Kai into traditional boys’ activities such as football, and threw her traditional boys’ birthday parties.
“We tried to make this kid be a boy.”
Kimberly said she realized she was going about things the wrong way when she overheard her daughter praying for death.
“I overheard Kai praying and asking the Lord to please take Joseph home to be with Jesus and I realized Kai’s begging the Lord to let her die.”
Now, Shappley is allowing Kai to identify as a girl, and she’s carrying her fight to let Kai be a girl to the local school board. And time appears to be running out: kindergarten will start for Kai in a few short weeks, and the Pearland ISD continues to insist that Kai use either the boys’ bathroom or a private bathroom away from the other kids.
Do you believe that a transgender girl like Kai should be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom at her school?
[Image via Shutterstock/ChiccoDodiFC]