Right now, Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would target parents who support their transgender kids’ desire to transition.
The bill heard in the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday would redefine child abuse to include parents who consent to hormone therapy and puberty blockers for their transgender children. It would make those acts a felony, like child abuse and sex trafficking. Parents who violate the proposed law could face up to ten years in prison and have their child put into foster care.
Shappley spoke against the law, which would brand her mother as a child abuser for supporting Shappley’s transition.
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“I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices,” she said. “I have been having to explain myself since I was three or four years old. Texas legislators have been attacking me since Pre-K. I am in fourth grade now.”
“When it comes to bills that target trans youth, I immediately feel angry,” she continued. “It’s been very scary and overwhelming. It just makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist.”
In response to Republican state Sen. Charles Perry, the bill’s lead sponsor, who said that his religious beliefs motivate his support of the bill, Shappley said, “God made me. God loves me for who I am, and God does not make mistakes.”
Shappley pleaded with lawmakers to listen to her before speaking up for her mom, Kimberly Shappley.
“My mom has been giving everything she has to stand up for me. With these new things y’all are trying to do, we both are having to advocate for each other because you are now targeting a great mom and a great nurse.”
The young activist ended her powerful testimony by urging lawmakers to “please stop.” “It’s never too late to turn it around,” she said.
“And I want to say thank you to those of you who are sticking up for kids like me. By the time I am in college, you will be celebrated in the history books,” she concluded.
The Texas bill is the latest in a wave of ant-trans legislation sweeping the country. Thirty-three states have introduced at least 117 bills in the current legislative session that target the transgender community, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
The majority of bills affect transgender youth, both in their access to medical care and youth sports leagues.
Medical organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Psychiatric Association have spoken out against these bans.
“With alarm and dismay, pediatricians have watched bills advance through state legislatures across the country with the sole purpose of threatening the health and well-being of transgender youth,” said the AAP in a statement last month.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics has long been on the record in support of affirmative care for transgender children through our clinical policy. Today, we are going on the record to oppose public policies that would allow for the opposite.”
“Evidence-based medical care for transgender and gender diverse children is a complex issue. Pediatricians are best able to determine what care is necessary and appropriate for these children, but these bills interfere in the physician-patient-family relationship and would cause undue harm.
Politics has no place here. Transgender children, like all children, just want to belong. We will fight state by state, in the courts and on the national stage to make sure they know they do.”