When Texas lawmakers considered two bills to criminalize gender-affirming care for transgender children last year, then 10-year-old Kai Shapley told a roomful of officials that “it makes me sad that some politicians are using trans kids like me to get votes. people who hate me just because I exist”.
His powerful testimony to the Senate State Affairs Committee in 2021 has gone viral.
Last month, Governor Greg Abbott issued a directive warning that gender-affirming care could carry “criminal penalties” after state Attorney General Ken Paxton said puberty-suppressing drugs and Other medically accepted treatments for transgender children would constitute “child abuse” under Texas law. .
Now 11, the Texas fifth-grade student and transgender rights activist called on state lawmakers to fight the governor’s agenda and “treat trans youth like other kids.”
In an open letter published by SheKai Shapley says she was “shattered and disappointed” when she learned of the administration’s directive.
“People are getting so cruel and heartless,” she wrote. “I mean, we’re just kids!” Now I may not be getting the care I need. Changes could happen to my body that would be irreversible. I don’t even want to think about it.
Texas authorities have already opened at least five investigations into parents of transgender children for possible child abuse, according to Texas Grandstand.
An investigation by the Department of Family and State Protective Services, following the non-binding opinion of Attorney General Paxton, targeted an agency employee with a 16-year-old transgender child, according to a trial filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal.
“I’m afraid of being taken from my mother,” Kai wrote in her letter to Texas lawmakers. “That’s the worst thought of it all.”
She adds, “If I could sit down with [Governor] Abbott, I would ask him to stop. I was like, ‘You’re hurting me.’ Is it too much to ask? Stopped. I think adults should treat trans kids like other kids. Adults are supposed to protect me – not hurt me and my family. It upsets me, because I’m the child here.
This year, Republican state lawmakers have proposed more than 266 bills targeting LGBT+ Americans, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Of these proposals, at least 125 directly target transgender people.
In 2021, at least 25 anti-LGBTQ+ measures were enacted in the United States, including 13 laws targeting transgender people in eight states, according to the organization.
President Joe Biden called Governor Abbott’s decision a “cynical and dangerous campaign” and “overreaching government at its worst.”
“Like so many anti-transgender attacks proliferating in states across the country, the governor’s actions callously threaten to harm children and their families just to score political points,” he said. said in a press release Last week. “These actions terrify many families in Texas and beyond. And they have to stop.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said “the steps we’ve seen in Texas and Florida are deeply concerning and discriminate against the kinds of children we need to love and support.”