A young trans actor and activist schooled legislators in Texas about the dangers of legislation under consideration that would criminalize medical care for trans youth. 10-year-old Kai Shappley told Texas lawmakers “bullying is bad” and asked them to “please stop” using transphobic bills to pander for votes from a hateful right-wing base.
“I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices,” Shappley told Lone Star lawmakers. “I’ve been having to explain myself since I was 3 or 4 years old. Texas legislators have been attacking me since pre-K. I am in fourth grade now.”
Shappley was testifying before the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs as they considered two transphobic pieces of legislation. The first bill would criminalize many forms of gender-affirming medical care for youth, making it the same crime as child abuse in the eyes of the law. A second bill would insert the government into the doctor-patient relationship, criminalizing some medical care and revoking the licenses of practitioners who disobey the law.
Shappley, best known for her role as Bailey Delvecchio in the 2020 TV series The Baby-Sitters Club, also decried the legislation for attacking her mother, a nurse and self-described Christian. The 10-year-old said the twin bills targeted “a great mom and a great nurse” by threatening to take away her nursing license.
“Bullying is bad,” Shappley firmly admonished. “Please stop.”
Shappley had opened her presentation by expressing her love for “ballet, math, science, and geology,” and revealing that she often dreams of meeting Dolly Parton. The new legislation in Texas changed her mood, though, making her feel angry, scared, and overwhelmed.
“It makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist,” she said.
She went on to warn lawmakers to be careful how they treat “the least of these” and ask them to “educate” themselves and “understand” the perspectives of others.
“God made me,” Shappley said. “God loves me for who I am, and God does not make mistakes.”
Shappley had earlier appeared in an award-winning short film from the ACLU, where she explained the unfairness of life as a young trans girl growing up in deeply conservative Texas.
“Other girls get to go to the girls’ bathroom, and I don’t get to,” she explained in the video. “And I’m a girl, so I should go to the girls’ bathroom.”
She also revealed in the film her favorite Biblical character was Ester because of “her pretty necklace” and “because she helped people.”