Mother of 5-year-old transgender daughter asks Pearland I.S.D to change policy

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"Kai says she's a girl in her heart," said her mother Kimberly Shappley. "She's exactly the way the lord designed her."

Kai was born Joseph, but Shappley says she's the one who had to change.

"Before the transition we had a child who would steal girl toys and then lie about stealing girl toys," Shappley said. "A sad little kid who was already showing signs of depression."

Shappley who says she's a devout Christian and an ordained minister, says it took her a couple of years to come to terms with having a transgender child.

Kai will start kindergarten on August 22nd and Shappley says she's trying to save her daughters life.

"Transgender children who are separated and segregated from society have a 41 percent suicide rate," said Shappley.

Shappley and her supporters asked Pearland school board members Tuesday night to change the district's policy which states transgender students must go to the bathroom for the sex indicated on their birth certificate.

"Everyone who has anything to do with children and education they understand that this is imperative" Shappley told school board members.

Board members said they couldn't comment because the issue wasn't on the agenda.

"HISD has had this implemented since 2011 and  have  not seen an uprise in crime or anything going on in bathrooms," said Lou Weaver with Equality Texas. "We are seeing thriving students going through the system getting a good education "

But not all the parents attending Tuesday nights board meeting agree with Shappley.

"You asked me a direct question do I think Kai should be able to use the girls bathroom no I don't," said parent Rick Torrison.

"It's about something much bigger than bathrooms," Shappley said. In 1960 the civil rights movement was not about water fountains."