Shappley, who was featured in a documentary about life as a trans girl in Texas back in 2018, opened her testimony by talking about her hobbies, which, like many young children, include ballet, science, geology, FaceTiming her friends, and math. She described herself as a Dolly Parton fan and says she dreams of meeting the country legend.
On the other hand, however, she informed lawmakers that her childhood is not all roses. As one might imagine, the anti-trans bills appearing in her state scare and overwhelm her.
“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 stated. The child implored the adults in the room to “educate” themselves. Which is really the bare minimum ask of adults, much less elected officials.
Shappley also celebrated her mom, who she described as “great” and as a “great nurse.” This is especially relevant because one of the bills Texas is considering, Texas Senate Bill 1646, would label the parents of trans children who consent to (or administer, or supply) gender-affirming medical care, like hormonal treatments, as child abusers. The only exception is if the child is intersex. So the two bills the state is considering attack trans health on all fronts: criminalizing doctors providing it and parents agreeing to it.
The fourth grader’s mother, Kimberly Shappley, also wrote a moving op-ed over at the Houston Chronicle, urging politicians not to essentially force her to leave the state over this exclusionary, discriminatory legislation.
Shappley closed her statement with a little reminder that kids grow up to be adults, and history doesn’t erase itself. “I want to say thank you to those of you who are sticking up for kids like me,” she told legislators. “By the time I’m in college, you will be celebrated in the history books.”
Shappley, like Keating, and like so many others who don’t get media attention, are amazing. They’re inspiring, brave, and wise beyond their years. But here’s the thing: They shouldn’t have to be. Trans kids and teens deserve to enjoy their adolescence as much as anyone else, and they shouldn’t have to testify before a room full of adults to appeal for their humanity.
You can check out Shappley’s testimony below.
You can check out the documentary below.