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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]

100 Replies to “Kai Shappley: A Trans Girl Growing Up In Texas | Emmy-Winning Documentary | them.”

  • They need to move to California, she would be excepted and be able to use a girls bathroom at school. She would probably do just fine having overnights with other children!

  • Shes such a beautiful young lady. 🙂 i wish the best for her and only the best. I hope the bulling doesnt get to bad. I hope she never gives up:)

  • This is satans agenda👹🔥☠️🔥Preying on our children👹🔥☠️🔥 Gender confusion 👹🔥☠️🔥Rebuke the devil 🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️Pray to God for guidance 🙏🙏🙏

  • This video should show people that being transgender isn’t a phase or a lifestyle choice, it’s who they are. Imagine being trapped in the wrong body and being forced go into the wrong bathroom.
    She is beautiful and so innocent. So leave her alone and you should call her by the pronoun she wants to be called by

  • Nope nope nope. You can be whatever you want when you are 18 and out of my house. I have no pity for this nonsense. Shame on the parents.

  • Sorry, but this is SICK! Those parents are monsters! Is it really much of a surprise that society is getting dumber and dumber? You are either a boy or a girl! Period! That poor kid!

  • How does any human act and behave like something they are not? Many do and have to hide what they feel. What an awful way to live. Poor child. to be picked on by adults really ticks me off. She has a lot of weight on her little shoulders. Trying to even get a bigoted person to see beyond their judgemental actions and closed minds are almost impossible. Jesus would not judge her. These so-called "Christians" do. Shame on their blasphemous behavior.

  • she is not a girl for goodness sake, what is this world turning into, a child that cannot detect what's wrong or right and you made him do this, he is not a girl,how can they accept him as a girl , when he couldn't accept himself. nonesense.

  • Dear Kai, you just educated hundreds and thousands of people and helped them understand the transgender issues through your existence and kindness <3

  • I have a Transgender son , born in the early 90s. I knew I had a Tom boy. When she was a teenager , I knew she liked girls, she came out to me as Transgender when she turned 19 . I cried so much, because I didn't want her to change. She changed her name to Jake, and I started saying he and him. He never got surgery, and I am greatful. Because Jake gave birth to my first granbabby. He is a great mommy. He still goes by Jake. He makes me proud. He is not male or female.
    He is both. I accept my child for the way God made him. I love him no matter what she does. Sometimes I sound crazy going back and forth. But I always call him Jake, and him. Unless I mess up. He doesn't mind. We are very close. I would have never known had it not happened to me. God works in mysterious ways. It is not for us to judge, but to accept, and to love.

  • This is a sweet and smart child. Kids should be able to be nurtured and raised in the way that is true to them. It makes me glad that she had a mother who sees that.

  • So what happens when she starts producing testosterone and becomes more male like, and shes been raised as a woman……. I was a very feminie little boy much like this but later on I became a very manly man……. I'm not trying to judge or downtalk but I'm not sure a child can make decisions even about themselves at a point so young.. I wish the best to the family and hope everything turns out no matter what godbless you please dont mistake my statement as hate but more so a "what if" worry

  • Our Church supports the LGBTQ+ community

    Sorry I had it saying LGBTG+ my phones messed up and it correted it to that but I fixed it

  • I don’t see a problem with her using the boys bathroom at school. If they’re worried about other girls seeing her private parts that should even be a problem, their are stalls. And she literally acts and looks like a GIRL probably more ‘girly’ then many biological girls at her school.

  • I wish when I would only wear orange liked tigers and ninja turtles at the age of 2 then my mom would have realized I wasn’t a girl

  • How can a kid know what gender they want to be when kids don't even know what type of person they want to date? They're just kids. I think pushing this much sexuality-based thinking on kids is wrong. I've heard so many examples of kids who become trans, then regret it later on when they hit puberty. Bottom line is: kids don't know what they want. They shouldn't make such an irreversible decision like this until they're older.

    On a side note… In my mind, the biggest form of self love is accepting the body you were BORN into. What's gonna come next? The trans-racial movement?

  • I still haven't told my mom…I mean the clues are there. I'm not feminine at all, I never talk about guys, and I even have a girlfriend. I mean I think the way I act means something too and I'm always in the guy section when it comes to clothes soo I don't know. I guess she'll find out eventually

  • You're either male or female, and it is assigned to you when you come into existence a sperm cell, before even birth. You do not choose and your confusion does not choose.

  • This is saddening that they believe in God and the truth is being held before them. God does not like when people “change” their genders. He made them the way they are, beautifully and wonderfully made. Being transgender is like slapping Him in the face and saying He created you wrong.

  • I love how her mom accepts her while being religious and not telling her it's against what the Bible says. It might seem small but religious guilt effects so many lgbt kids and adults it's lovely to see she's not being raised to believe god doesn't love her.

  • What she says in the end about her mother recognizing that she was a a girl was "more than amazingly,it was gorgeous" has to be one of the most incredible statements I had ever heard . I hope we are all humbled by this child. And it changes us.

  • My family treated me this way at 7:18 they are now neutral about my position and I just really relate to Kai and hope that my loving family can come to an understanding of how beautifully and wonderfully I am made, despite being genderqueer. Love for you Kai❤️

  • Honestly I was an ugly little girl at her age. She's pretty. Also, wtf she deserves to use the girls bathroom :'(

  • It is a wonderful thing that this mother supports her new daughter, but just like all these problematic children, too intense too

  • Young children never lie about who they are. They are pure little souls. You can see that she is female. There seems to be born transgender than we think. In the future their will be studies and insights. She is beautiful. Love her beautiful soul. Many young transgenders have difficulty. Do not let others say she or you are evil. That is just ignorant. We need more love in this world. ❤️😊

  • The only thing I would change about this child is her thoughts on raising "thousands of cats". Please teach her that cats should be spayed or neutered.

  • I still don't think little kids should transition, I'm sorry. Are parents afraid to discipline children at all nowadays?

  • I appreciate the mum acknowledging how awful her mindset was before, but conversion therapy? Really? That’s so awful…

  • This is child abuse! Kids say all sorts of things doesnt mean thats what they are, kids say they are superman, doesn't mean that they are, kids say they're a dinosaur doesn't mean that they are. This is child abuse plain and simple, and using the Bible as a prop to make things seem ok to do. These parents are pure evil.

  • I guess when your kid goes through the "I'm a puppy dog" phase you should raise them as such? Really stupid. Hormones are carcinogenic and this is an agenda 21 depopulation scam you fools. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones

  • Lord help him see himself as you created him to be. I ask that you would ease the confusion that has been plaguing him and forgive his mom for going against your will. I pray that he grows into the man that you intended him to be.

  • This is sad and ridiculous, it is destroying our country and it is mental derangement and evil hearted sickness. Its father was never a true good man or real man and this is what happens. STOP NOW.

  • I think that he will grow up to be great person, I just think that this video documentary will force him to think that he's a girl for the rest of his life and not make it a periodic thing, as most kids go through. My parents keep telling how I was very feminine when I was young, but I grow up to be a 6'3 broad shouldered male teenager because my parents didn't force or condone it and because it's in DNA, I'm just thinking about the suffering this kid has to go through growing up (I think it sucks and no one should be treated like that no matter what they think or are).

  • I wish transphobic (or anybody who holds any kind of ignorance for that matter) could understand the kind of pain they cause those whom they are ignorant to. It breaks my heart, but it is repaired by Kai, she’s so cute and I only wish her the best 🙂

  • my 2 year old cousin told me wanted to be a girl. i asked him why and he replied, "because i hate being a boy."

  • She's such a sweetheart, I really hope she has a great life and I know she's going to grow up to be such a beautiful and kind girl since she is already such a cute and pretty little girl, this makes me so happy

  • That poor, innocent, confused child. I’m so bewildered as to why these parents would allow their own child to believe they are the opposite gender. As a parent, that mother needs to educate her child and tell him that God does not make mistakes, therefore gender changes shouldn’t exist.

  • It’s so sad..
    that she was literally praying to die so she wouldn’t have to stay here another day and be a boy.. 🥺

  • I just love her! 😍 “ I have three bibles isn’t that amazing!” Also “it was more than amazing it was… gorgeous!”

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