Kai Shappley: A Trans Girl Growing Up In Texas | Emmy-Winning Documentary | them.

[light bulb humming] [traffic whooshing] – So tell me more about school. What about the people in your class,
are they nice? …for no reason. – What’d they say? Then another girl, she just shouts out, “Kai’s a boy!” And I say, “No!” And I yell right back at her
when I say it. – You did?
– Mm-hmm. – Good for you. – So she can’t even use
the nurse’s office? – Yeah. But your friends stick up for you, right? – Mm-hmm.
– That’s good. I’m glad you have friends. Now we wait. You think we need one more coat of this? – No, that looks pretty good. – We might could do another coat. – Yeah.
– No, it’s fine. – What–[laughs] Okay. [soft serene music] – My earliest memories of Kai
from the very beginning was this child just acted very different than my other boys. – Miss Ashlynn, you know what
the best thing I can do to cats is? I’m not just a cat lover,
but I can make the cats love me. – [soft laugh] – [laughs] The kind of baby that Kai was was very similar to my daughter. All the little pieces
were there very early. I just–I didn’t know
what it was that I was looking at. – Hey, mama,
I’m gonna buy a garden bow for you. When you wore it–
when you have it on your hair, you water s–um, on it, and it turns into a plant,
a plant bow, and it grows flowers
when you put water on it. I wish I could have that bow.
Mom? – By 2 1/2, 3 years old,
everything was very feminine. By 3 1/2, Kai was saying, “You know I’m a girl, Mommy.
You know I’m a girl.” – The Bible is for everyone to know to be kind and loving and caring. – Isn’t that my T-shirt? – Yes, I’m using it as a dress
for sleeping. – [shouts] – Well–that’s my T-shirt.
– Watch out! – I’m going to sleep in it as a dress. – Hey, Mommy.
Mommy. – Come on, Kai, let’s get your hair done
and get to church. – Okay. [suction pops] These Stikbots are so crazy. – Can you pull your messy bun out? You want to just wear ’em down?
You want down pigtails like this? You know, Mama is really good boy-Mom. You deserve a way better girl-Mom.
[chuckles] And Corey didn’t never want
her hair fixed like this. She wasn’t as girly as you are. – Well now she might be. – Now she might be. – We just don’t know.
– We just don’t know. Where’s your Bible?
– I have it. My pink Bible. I have two Bible–
I have three Bibles. Isn’t that amazing? I have three Bibles. – What’s your favorite book in the Bible? – Esther. – What’s your favorite book in the Bible?
– Esther. – [chuckles] Why?
– E-S-T-H-E-R. – Why is Esther your favorite? – ‘Caus–um, there’s loads of things. Her pretty necklace.
She became queen. Because of her story.
Because she helped people. And…
let’s see, that’s basically it. [gentle music] – Okay, Kai, Kaleb, who’s praying? – You.
– It’s not my turn. – Yes, it is. – Yes, we will. We ask that you– It’s hard when
people that I’ve known and served with in church for many years who, uh, know that I love the Lord to suddenly–
because my daughter was born transgender– they suddenly think that I’ve, you know, allowed Satan to take over my family. Um, so I guess it’s just
being watchful to see which side of civil rights history
my church is gonna be on. I think that that’s something
that I have to be mindful of as well. [pensive music] When Kai was born, I was leading
a ministry at Lakewood Church, leading Bible study every Saturday night, attending church and
serving as a prayer partner every Sunday. I was a straight-ticket Republican,
a Tea Partyer. My beliefs about the LGBTQ community
were that, you know, we needed to help them see the truth to save them from going to Hell. I remember even thinking
before Kai was three that I think this kid might be gay. And I thought that that could not happen and that would not happen. We started praying fervently. Prayers turned into
Googling “conversion therapy” and how can we implement
these techniques at home to make Kai not be like this. Putting her in time-out
for acting like a girl, putting her in time-out
for stealing girl toys, spanking her–
really spanking her every time she would say,
“You know I’m a girl.” No matter what the consequences,
she’s persisting in the fact that you should already know
she’s a girl. When Kai was about four years old, she prayed to go home and be with Jesus
and never come back. – Father God, Jesus’ name, help my friends and family be kind, be good, love each other and– encourage and love. Amen. – My kid was praying to die. All of the information and data
that I had read about transgender children having
a 41% risk of attempting suicide came flooding back, and I realized that I had a four-year-old
that was begging the Lord to let her die. I had a four-year-old who
would rather go be with Jesus forever than stay here and have to
live as a boy one more day. Is that good? – No, I want that–I want that. – I know you do, but everybody does. – These orange things are fish eggs. I don’t know why I like them. – [laughs]
They’re pretty good? – The–they’re–
they’re the best touch on it. – They are?
– Mm-hmm. – Mom, where are the wipeys? – Sleepovers are not a good idea.
– Mama– – Um, where are the wipeys? Mom, where are the wipeys? – Just go wash your hands, please. – Ooh.
– Ah-ah. – Well… We’ll really have to… I don’t know.
I don’t think sleepovers are a good idea. – Okay. – We’ll talk to Miss Gladys
when I get back. [chuckles] [kisses] All right. – Literally my love is so strong for cats that I make them love me so much that sometimes they even follow me. I’m gonna raise thousands of cats, fill up my whole house with kitty cats. – Tell me about your school. – Well… [sighs] They do do something
mean to me sometimes. – Who?
– The school. So, Miss Walker, the principal, um, her boss says I cannot use
the women’s bathroom. So I have to use a bathroom, that, um, just to make me feel good,
they put two girls to go with me. And that still doesn’t help because, um, I sometimes have accidents because, um, the door locks when it closes. And people, um, they–they just
put a magnet to keep the door open. That doesn’t work. People keep stealing magnets
for their teachers. And I’m like, “Holy Jesus.” And then they do nothing about it,
and so I have accidents a lot. Some of us that that happens to us, um, we have accidents. – And how do you feel
when you have that accident? – I feel embarrassed. – This shouldn’t happen.
– And it wasn’t my fault. It was the principal’s boss’s fault,
not mine. ‘Cause other girls get to go to women–
the girls’ bathroom. And I don’t get to.
– Mm-hmm. – And I’m a girl, so I should
go to the girls’ bathroom. [soft ambient music] – Just minutes ago, the Texas House
voted for a so-called “bathroom bill.” – The bill would require
students to the use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender
on their birth certificate. – It’s not a controversial bill
and it doesn’t impact our economy, so we just want to get it right. And it’s just Texas values. You deserve your privacy.
You deserve your dignity. You deserve your comfort and your safety when you go to the ladies’ room
or the locker room or the girls’ bathroom. – [distant] Amen! [clock ticking] – In the beginning,
we were gonna be stealth. No one was gonna need
to ever know that Kai was trans. And it actually went pretty well
at the school. I felt confident. [sighs] And then the “bathroom bill”
chatter started. And then the superintendent
notified Kai’s school that that is not the way it would happen. And then I get the phone call
from the school saying, “Kai will have to use the boys’ restroom.” – We need a law that protects
the privacy of our children in our public schools. – I need to know that
I can have the same expectation of privacy no matter where I am
in the state of Texas. – It’s just common sense
and common decency. We don’t want men
in women’s ladies rooms. This had nothing to do with equal rights. – I got the phone call from the school early in the morning on a Thursday. By the evening the same day, I was sitting at Fox News
doing an interview. By the next Tuesday,
just a few days later, I was speaking at a press conference
in Austin. To the LGBTQ community, I want to say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for every time that
I plucked a Bible verse out of context and I hurt you with it. I was a hateful reflection
of a loving God. Please forgive me. [paper rustles] [exhales] This is the face of
a transgender child in Texas. And I want you
to look at this little girl, my little girl. Do we as a state really
want to force her into a men’s bathroom? [camera shutter clicks] Kai is the strongest-willed person
I have ever known. I don’t think any one thing
could have broken me. If Kai wasn’t
such a strong-willed little kid, I would have broken her. Me being broken put me together better. But if I had succeeded
in breaking my daughter, the statistics say that
it wouldn’t have turned out well for her. …it was more than amazing. It was gorgeous. [soft laugh]
It was amazing. It was the best thing
that happened to me so far in my life. [soft ambient music]

About the author


  1. I feel like he is too young to make a life changing decision I mean how do we know if the mother hasn't brainwashed him..he is just too young to think on his own plus god makes no mistakes when it comes to his children

  2. Can someone explain why she'd need the door open? And otherwise would have accidents? I don't understand. Why would the door need to be open?

  3. I know a teenage boy that when he was 3 or 5 would act very girly. He grew up in a troubled family father passed away when he was 7 and all his siblings are girls. When you would take him to stores he would love going to the women's section and looking at dresses. He would always cross his legs like a girl and talk and move his hands in such a way that we knew he was different. Something his family never did was make him dress like a girl because he never had that tendency . Now he's a grown man that enjoys putting makeup on. He doesn't dress like a girl but now he feels confident on who he is. The difference is the family didn't shove or force a certain way of life upon other people or children.

  4. Why is it such a big deal with the restrooms? A trans woman is now a woman, why make them go to the mens restroom thats so complicated…same with trans men. Why people cant understand that?

  5. She's seven, if anything it's a danger to her emotionally to go to the men's restroom when she's clearly a girl and it wouldn't cause any problems for her to go into the restroom SHE'S comfortable in. I'm sure other children don't mind her going to women's bathroom, why should the government, if they want kids to feel comfortable using the bathroom then they need to let kids use the bathroom they're comfortable in.

  6. This sweet little girl deserves better, she deserves the exact same as any other cis female. She is a girl and should be able to use the girls restroom. She's got a lot of LGBT people on her side that will try their best to stand up for her because she deserves love.

  7. 6:30 your 'daughter' was not born transgender. born a boy until the surgery sorry that's literal facts. why can't a boy be slightly girly or a girl be a tomboy you don't have to be a transgender,

  8. This is when having a trans child that is this young is ok, this isint forced she wants to be a girl not a boy but if you first assign their gender as genderfluid instead of keeping their original gender and letting them live with it and then after they really think about it they can go trans or genderfluid.

  9. This young child is a BOY !!! Stop feeding into mental illness and or satanism it is and always will be 2 genders you can’t pro noun biology away girl or boy if you subscribe to this propaganda your are against Jesus Christ no matter what this lying scripted mother says please Heavenly Father save this little misguided boy in the name of your SON JESUS CHRIST and awake the people so they can see through this brainwashing sham

  10. She's such a precious little girl❤ God bless her ❤
    Totally not happy hearing the bathroom issues 😔😢💔

  11. You wanna be a girl so be it you know ur a girl in your heart don't let people tell u that ur not a girl because u are a girl a beautiful girl hope u injoy reading

  12. I understand the little girl but what about my little girl having to see boys in the girls room and here about this being so young but also would never want to see her have to live a life that is not what she wants or would rather go to heaven it breaks my heart I just hope someone can come up with the best solution and fix this problem this little girl has the most awesome loving and especially caring mother in her life and I believe that will take her far my prayers go out for her

  13. They will not be happy in texas. I hope they can find a better and accepting place to live in. She is precious, loving and full with smiles. I can't and won't understand how people can be so ignorant.

  14. I love that the girl said at the beginning she basically said she stood up for herself in what she believed her own gender was. I’m glad she’s not afraid to speak up and tell that they’re not the gender they were born to be they’re who they want

  15. So when they were talking about the bathroom bill I was just so disgusted
    I get it that people don’t want men in a women’s bathrooms and women in men’s bathrooms but if you strongly believe that your were born in the wrong gender and decided to change gender or become gender fluid it shouldn’t be a problem at all to simply use a bathroom
    I can’t see how some people can be so ignorant and rude

  16. The same Bible this child is holding describes God but also evil spirits in this world that have the ability to deceive and distort. That is happening with this trans wave. It's a spiritual stronghold and this baby needs to go to a healing/deliverance ministry. There's a great calling on his life, that is why devils are trying to distort his soul and identity. You can't walk in your purpose if you don't know who you are. This spirit is influencing this child and creating a false identity. Jesus had to cast demons out little kids too. God's people should become more knowledgeable of things of the spirit so their kids don't end up being enabled casualties.

  17. A boy is mean to be a boy and a girl is meant to be a girl there’s no “I feel I’m in the wrong body” no such thing it’s a brain problem they experience cause there parents don’t know how to treat a boy and a girl differently 🤷🏻‍♀️ they think it’s okay to put nail polish on a boy at 2 YEARS OLD! and a girl they’d put boy cloths on them 🤦🏻‍♀️ even if they believe in god there still trans or they like there own gender it’s still not right no matter what way it seems.

  18. that would make it so easy for perverts to follow children into bathroom .. which is way more important than these kids "feelings"… I myself would prefer my child have hurt feelings over being malested..

  19. All these stereotypes are confusing people. You can be a guy who's girly. That doesn't make you a girl. Like what you like. You don't need to try and change genders. You can't change the fact you are born a certain way. Embrace it.

  20. This video has me in tears she is so pure and innocent it's such a shame that people don't support the LGBT community I truly respect the mom for accepting her daughter and I don't know why other people don't support her especially her school it's such a shame I wish the best for her and her future she is once again the most pure and amazing girl ❤

  21. What an awesome mother. She noticed her child was different and adjusted herself in order to provide the most accepting loving sanctuary for her child. Gender is not a black and white absolute issue. It is a continuum of shades of gray that is contingent upon hormone levels within the womb and beyond into puberty.

  22. My best friend is trans gender I don’t see her any different you are who you are and people should accept you for that

  23. SHE IS SOOO CUTE kinda reminds me when i was a kid i though i was a boy though and my mum though it was just something that would past so when no one was looking i went into the boy bathroom then i got in to another school the boys would just push me in the girls and say i cant be in tye boys so i changed i had to wair dresses i hated it i went into the girls bathroom but now when im out i wair boy cloths aloud to go into boy bathrooms and go by the name of Jack the name my mum picked for me just be whl you are people be happy woth what you feel happy with dont let anyone desided that for you thank you love is love people….

  24. her speech about not having the right to go to girls bathroom made me cry. why are people so incredibly mean.

  25. I have so much things I need to say

    1) her teeth are soooo straight I’m jealous

    2)the way she made a dress out of her moms shirt,she needs to be a designer

    3) the way she talks is adorable

  26. Ok I'm a girl with short hair. I'm a les. So I think it was yesterday I was using the bathroom aka the girls, and I walk out and these 7th graders say why did that boy walk out the girls bathroom. Doe s he have a girlfriend. And I'm like wanting to tell them something but then I dont. I don't go to the bathroom when other people are around bc I feel embarassed when ppl see me think I'm a boy then they just stare when I go to the bathroom. I'm 13 and I don't like it. This little girl isn't even 10 and they have ppl judging her. This is so sad.😪😔

  27. She’s a little kid though I don’t think kids that young should choose their sexuality, it could just be a phase

  28. I am going to get hate but Christians shouldn’t change gender and it’s obvious if you change your gender you are basically saying God has made a mistake but God doesn’t make mistakes

  29. Her happiness is adorable. I love how she doesn't care what others think of her.
    #KaiIsAdorable #SupportKaiShappley

  30. This poor little boy has gender dysphoria. We should love and encourage him but also help him out of it and into freedom!

  31. This video is why…. how can people say that garbage about the trans agenda???. She is love and innocent and needs to be accepted ❤️❣️💞🌈💯🌻💗🦋❣️people out there say the Illuminati have an agenda about gender confusion….I am not confused i am female will remain female and that sweet child is a girl and loves being a girl…what is wrong with that??? Omg I wish this family so much healing and love!🙏

  32. This is so wrong on all levels. This poor boy has a mental illness which needs to be addressed. This is 100% child abuse in my eyes. People should not be encouraging or allowing a child of this age to decide what gender he wants to be. We don't give children the decision to drink or smoke, so why let a child decide something so outrageous that it will impact his life forever. The people who are supporting this in the comment section are absolutely insane.

  33. Kai is such a beautiful and happy girl and I pray to god that she meets nice people like 60% of people in this comment section and none of the hateful people in the comment section,

    If you think this is wrong you need to have a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and think about why you feel the need to deny this little girl happiness and to be able to live her life the way she is

  34. That bill is just messed up. Texas needs that little girl in charge bc she has more sense then those other people

  35. I will personally go to her school and make all them kids that call her a boy and the bullies and make them Catch these hands.

  36. So will they be drugging and mutilsting his body? Or will this comment get deleted so you can all believe this is anything other than child abuse.

  37. The world needs a follow up when this person hits 16 yrs old. Right now, it's alot easier to deal with (imo) But once those raging hormones kick in….ohhh Lord! Please give us a follow up!

  38. seriously though my children aren’t allowed to choose what they do for the day / what they wear / what they eat / whether they wanna play or do homework first so why would someone let them decide on their gender i’m confused

  39. The problem is the mother doesn’t put her foot down and correctly guide the child. If you teach him/her about god teach him/her to love the body you’re given like a temple as the Bible says. She let this happen.

  40. I'm sorry adult but Kai was born like that you have to accept because god create Her so don't judge you own blood is not ours fault she have Purpose to be born has trangeder 🤗😋

  41. 6:04 “lord you replace leaders (Donald trump) with right people” Ms mom nice prayer btw being sarcastic

  42. 6:04 “lord you replace leaders (Donald trump) with right people” Ms mom nice prayer btw being sarcastic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *