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Parents Of Transgender Youth Say They Are Left Out Of Bathroom Policy Talks

Ryan Poppe
Pearland Mom Kimberly Shippley, mother of a 5-year-old transgender girl.

Parents of transgender children argue they are being left out of the conversation when it comes to the state’s fight against public school district changes in bathroom ordinances.   A Tuesday rally followed a request for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal opinion on whether these school districts are violating state law.

Pearland mother Kimberley Shappley, the mother of a transgender child, wept as she talked about her own efforts to thwart her child identifying as the opposite sex.


“Kai would never get a single toy that she asked for, she would never have a birthday party theme that she asked for.  One Monday afternoon I remember picking (up) a sobbing child from daycare and her best friend had had a fourth birthday party that we were not invited to. I remember looking in the rearview mirror and seeing her sweet face saying, ‘Her daddy said the party was only for girls and that I’m a freak,'" Shappley says.


Shappley, who is a registered Republican, says it was in these heart-wrenching moments that she realized that her child wasn’t the one transitioning, it was her and her ideas about transgender youth. She says the state is targeting innocent children for political gain.


The rally at the capitol was organized by the LGBT-advocacy non-profit Equality Texas. It followed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s announcement that he had requested Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal opinion of whether school district’s, like the Fort Worth ISD’s, revised bathroom ordinance violates state statutes within the Texas Constitution.  Patrick says if there is a violation he and the Texas Senate intend to take action against these school districts.


Credit Ryan Poppe
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

“If a superintendent breaks the law and there is no teeth in the law and a school board doesn’t follow up then the legislature is going to have to act," Patrick says.


Last week, Paxton announced that the state was being joined by 11 other state attorneys general in suing the Obama administration for threatening to take away federal funding if they fail to change their school bathroom ordinance to benefit transgender students. 

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.