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June 23, 2023
Positively Dreadful
Girl, Interrupted

In This Episode

Donald Trump recently marveled that talking about trans rights whips his supporters into a frenzy far more effectively than economic issues like tax cuts do. He and other Republican leaders are (thus!) intensifying attacks on trans kids, banning health-care procedures and trying to separate them from their parents. The politics and discourse in some parts of the U.S. have left families with trans children little choice but to pack up their belongings and move to more welcoming places. Twelve-year-old trans activist and author Kai Shappley and her mother Kimberly left their home state of Texas and relocated to Connecticut less than a year ago. They join host Brian Beutler to talk about why they had to move, what it’s like being targeted by the state for gender expression, and how the Biden administration can better support girls like Kai.

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Brian Beutler: Hello and welcome to Positively Dreadful. With me your host, Brian Beutler. [music plays] The other day Donald Trump said something characteristic for him, but unusually revealing about how he kind of feels around for talking points that keep his supporters agitated and mobilized. He said, it’s amazing how strongly people feel about that. Referring to the conversation about trans rights, he says, I’m talking about cutting taxes and people get bored. I talk about transgender. Everyone goes crazy. Who would have thought five years ago you didn’t know what the hell it was? Everyone goes crazy. That was his basic takeaway. And that’s kind of how it’s been going on that side of the aisle for a while now. The politicians want to cut taxes, just as Trump said, but their supporters want scapegoats and red meat. And so that’s what the politicians provide as a means to an end. Ron DeSantis, who’s the country’s most attention seeking anti-trans governor and a GOP presidential candidate, responded to Trump’s comments by attacking Trump for having once celebrated the inclusion of trans women in his beauty pageant. There was no policy issue at stake. It’s just that before he took over the Republican Party, Donald Trump wasn’t instinctually cruel to trans people, and that, according to DeSantis, is reason enough to vote for him instead. And you can see from this degrading back and forth that these politicians who never gave any thought to girls high school sports or women’s collegiate athletics or who gets to participate in beauty contests, only latched on to issues like that because, as Trump said, everyone goes crazy. Some of them, of course, really do go crazy. Some of them get violent. And that’s apparently okay with people like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. So long as come election time, anyone who takes issue with trans participation in society will vote for them. But that’s the big question. The trans sports issue is is the wedge. But the people holding the wedge are in many cases bigots who treat anything other than cisgendered heterosexual life as a kind of perversion. And so the politicians pandering to them ultimately can’t stop at the issue of sports fairness. They have to go further to ban health care for trans kids. They have to threaten to separate trans kids from their parents if their parents are too accepting of their kids. Banned books that depict LGBT life in any kind of normal, positive way. They also, frankly, have to act like like bullies to treat people some of the most underrepresented people in the country with contempt and cruelty. And that’s where I think advocates for LGBT legal and social equality have been able to find unexpected support. At least that’s my sense from the from the periphery of this fight. Against a backdrop of vicious, exploitative attacks, trans families, the parents of trans adolescents have come forward in their communities and just been themselves normal, particularly by comparison to the people leading the fight against their rights. They’ve asked the public not to participate in campaigns, to bully children. They’ve emphasized just how normal it is for adolescents to want to play sports. Much as gay and lesbian Americans in the last decade emphasize the fundamental, normalness of marriage. We just want the same things other Americans take for granted. That basic appeal was, I think, integral to the speed with which support for marriage equality went from being a losing issue politically to a winning one. But with the Trumps and DeSantis’s out there acting completely certain that the public is on their side in supporting trans discrimination, it’s not surprising that many people looking on like me from the periphery worry that it’s not working. Maybe. Maybe the rights at stake are different enough that people won’t rally against hatred or for the equal dignity of trans Americans. On the other hand, what if it just feels that way because the anti-trans voices are so loud, so good at attracting attention that we miss how off putting that kind of behavior is to the majority of the population. The most alarming thing may be how unsettled that question is. Polling does not show vast support for anti-trans extremism, but it does show that the majority support for seemingly settled aspects of LGBT equality has started to slip a little. And my guests this week have spent the last years living in this kind of limbo. Kai Shappley is 12 years old. She told her mom, Kimberly, she was trans when she was three and a half years old, and they’ve been advocates for trans rights basically ever since. Kai even wrote a book about it. But it has also upended their lives in profound ways, even before they know how the fight will end. But they’ve seen it up close. They can speak to what’s effective, and they’re my guests this week. Kai and Kimberly, welcome to Positively Dreadful. We’re really thrilled to have you. 

 

Kai Shappley: We’re thrilled to be here. 

 

Brian Beutler: So many of our listeners probably don’t know your story and I. So I didn’t tell it all the way through in the introduction there. But do you want to tell us a little bit about how and why you’ve advocate for trans rights and what joining that fight has meant for for you and for your family? 

 

Kai Shappley: The story as far as that goes is like I always knew who I was. It wasn’t until I realized the people around me didn’t. So I told them. And then it took a while for some of them to realize and some of them left and some of them stayed. And that’s that’s what helped me decide that I wanted to fight because I want people in the future to have it where nobody leaves them for who they are. 

 

Brian Beutler: You’ve spent most of your childhood in Texas and now you’ve more recently moved to Connecticut. Is that correct? 

 

Kai Shappley: Yes. I’m now a Texan living in Connecticut, and it is [laughter] not at all like home. 

 

Brian Beutler: I want to get to that in a second. But but, Kimberly, was it is it basically that the laws and the government in Texas essentially forced families to go stealth? I think is is the term of art or else you’ll be persecuted if you’re if you’re living your life? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Yeah, I guess what I would like to say is in the beginning, we could try to find mutual ground to meet with conservative churches and conservative politicians and tell them our story to try to help them to understand. But at the beginning of the Trump presidency, those avenues completely shut down. It became almost impossible to even be able to try to explain. And yes, so when we first came out, we we came under attack from the superintendent of the school district we lived in, and that made it into the media. So that spread through the community. And we ultimately had to leave the community where we were living for Austin, which is the the the safe bubble in Texas. And we we did okay there. But, you know, for seven, eight consecutive years, the politics and the rhetoric around it just continued to increase the risk and the danger, both the danger from the politicians, the leadership and neighbors until we ultimately did have to leave. And as far as stealth, if we had the option for Kai to be stealth, we would. But that’s not an option one, that’s not in her nature. Two. It’s kind of hard to have a book out and an Emmy and a and to have been on Baby-Sitters Club and, you know, all these things that she’s done. It just makes it impossible for her to be stealth. But in that same token, you know, with her teen years coming up, being stealth isn’t safe either, because if you get found out, then you’re at a whole new level of danger. 

 

Brian Beutler: Tell us about how you came to the decision to move and how it feels looking back from your new home. Do you feel like it was right, as difficult as it was, and has it gotten any easier now that you’ve had some time at least to resettle? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: So it was definitely the right decision. And before the last Texas legislative session even began, you know, families were being investigated just on the orders of their governor. And I knew then that the legislation was going to pass. I mean, the writing was on the wall. It was passing all across the country. And so the decision to leave was just to me, it was is what I needed to do to feel like we could relax and breathe. And that’s certainly what being in Connecticut has done for us, is given us that opportunity to breathe and and reassess the situation. We miss Tex-Mex. [laughter] We do not miss mosquitoes and we don’t miss the heat. But. 

 

Kai Shappley: Oh H-E-B. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: H-E-B. 

 

Kai Shappley: Come back, my love. [laughter]

 

Kimberly Shappley: But we do, you know, we’re homesick. It’s we’re country folks. And we would like to be able to go home again one day. 

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah. Kai. You said that you’re a Texan living in Connecticut and it doesn’t feel at all like home. Can you tell tell us a little bit about how life in your new community in Connecticut differs from the one you left? 

 

Kai Shappley: Well, first of all, the people here are as their hearts are as cold as the weather. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: That is just a joke that she says. [laughter] We’ve met some really nice people. You’ve got to watch how you joke in public. 

 

Kai Shappley: Their food is not the same, they don’t season their food. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Yeah. It’s—

 

Brian Beutler: That’s a big problem in the Northeast in general. Not enough salt right, or spice. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: [laughter] She said she does have a little bit of difficulty with grammar being made fun of of her southern drawl, but we’ll leave that alone. We’re just thankful that the people in Connecticut vote in such a way that they do give people a safe haven. And there have been many, many, many other families like ours that have reached out to us and that we’ve met up with and spent time with that are here in Connecticut and all across the New England area. 

 

Brian Beutler: I think I can guess the answer to this based on what you just told me. But would it be your preference if if the government there, the culture there changed, stopped being a hostile place for trans people, would it be your preference to return to Texas? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: It would be my preference that the majority of Texans who are not anti trans and anti everything right? If if the majority of Texans voices were heard and represented, because I believe that, like you said earlier, the voice is really loud of the bigots that hate everybody and everything that is not exactly like them. And what I would like to finally see is Texans being authentically represented so that families like mine can come home. [music plays]

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Brian Beutler: You referred to Austin, sort of the safe bubble in Texas. Is it harder in this day and age, do you think, to find welcoming places, whether they’re bubbles within Texas or in a in a blue state like Connecticut, when the people who are trying to whip up mobs or whatever are they’re working online? There are no state borders and they’re just as happy to find things or direct hatred of people in Connecticut as they are in Texas or anywhere else in the country. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Yes. And what I can say about that is, is there used to be a time when I would say that there’s a whole bunch of people in the middle that just don’t care either way. Right. They don’t want to attack trans people that they maybe don’t understand them, but they just don’t care. And I feel sometimes like the right is gaining ground because their messaging is so consistent and and hateful and somehow their talking points and their rhetoric and the large amount of time that they spend, you know, getting this false narrative out into the to the media and the social media has has been a huge threat. You know, it’s a huge threat. I guess the question that I like to pose is what other medical diagnosis can your child get that makes people feel justified in hating you so? It makes them feel justified in telling you you can’t offer the treatment to your child that the medical community, hands down, has said is the appropriate treatment. 

 

Brian Beutler: Apart from legal protections for trans rights such as health care. Are there things that the governor of Connecticut or other free state governors, for lack of a better term, are doing to sort of mitigate the risks associated with all of the vitriol, the online sort of whipping up of hatred that you see that is creating incidents not just in red states but also outside of them. Is that an ongoing topic of political debate in Connecticut? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: It should be, but it really hasn’t been. And even watching the local news here, oftentimes they want to both sides the issues. So when they do talk about trans issues, they want to give equal talking time to pro and anti trans. I just I don’t understand that thought process. Like, how can you take a marginalized community and both sides it to bigots both sides it to people who literally are stirring up so much rhetoric it’s putting your family’s life in danger and they give them equal airtime. And I just don’t understand how that happens. And my blood starts to boil and I just turn the television off. And I because I’ll be honest with you, I mean, what we’re doing now is we we still have to keep up with what’s going on politically. I need to know if we need to plan to to lead the country in the next couple of years. 

 

Brian Beutler: So you you two resettled about a year ago. Is that right? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: It’s it’s been almost a year. 

 

Brian Beutler: You you published a book called Joy to the World about a trans girl named Joy in Texas, fighting for acceptance in her community, her school, her cheer squad, and the whole state. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone listening, but the book doesn’t end with Joy’s family feeling no choice but to move to another state. So first question what was the timeline there? Did you write the book after you left or were you writing it when you when the decision to move was made? 

 

Kai Shappley: I started writing it about just before we started thinking about having to move. Yeah. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Yeah. She was about ten years old when the process started. We just didn’t realize it takes that long to write a book and get it out because we hadn’t done it before. She started writing it at ten years old. And so, you know, some of the things that we see in the book hadn’t happened or passed in Texas yet. So I feel pretty confident that we did see the writing on the wall because we kind of nailed it. [laughs]

 

Brian Beutler: So what would you, Kimberly, say to a family in Texas or another state that is hostile to trans rights, that’s wrestling with whether to stay and fight or relocate? So they read Kai’s book and it’s all about the long grind of fighting for acceptance. But they also read that in real life, the trauma and the difficulty of living in an environment like that became too much for you and your family to bear. So you did move. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: So I’ve been asked what advice I would give to parents in these red states, and I the only advice I can tell them to, you know, stay hopeful, stay positive and get connected with the queer community because, you know, we need each other. I can’t tell someone if it’s. Right to go or to stay because, I mean, financially, I don’t know how I ever recoup from this move. Like, retirement isn’t even anything I can foresee anywhere in my lifetime [laughs] at this point because of how devastating it is financially to move. Safe states are hella expensive [laughter] and the safest zip codes within the safest states are are just simply not attainable to to everyone. And you know, I’m a registered nurse and my family is is struggling because it’s just so expensive. In safe states. Not long after we got here and got into our apartment, I got a call from a mom I had never met in person who had fled from Texas because there was an open investigation against her. And she just drove straight through to Connecticut and she reached out because she didn’t know what to do or where to go. And she was just scared and traumatized and as were her children. And then she was having to—

 

Kai Shappley: And her like five cats and three iguanas. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: So just trying to find housing because of these states that are accepting us aren’t taking us in as refugees, then those of us who come here that don’t have financial resources, we don’t qualify for benefits because we’re not citizens of that state. And so she came here with her children and then automatically had no housing and no way to feed them and no way to shelter them and no way to, you know, just all the things that you need when you relocate without a big plan. And so, you know, then her challenge, you know, was trying to convince the children’s protective services in this state that she’s a good mom and that she left to, you know, escape from children’s services in Texas because of the governor, because their kid is trans and then falls right into an open investigation here because of one in Texas. So it’s very imperative, in my opinion, that these states that are saying that they’re safe and welcoming, they they need to understand that these plans have got to hurry faster. You know, it’s like you don’t invite someone to your home if you haven’t planned enough resources to have us over. 

 

Brian Beutler: So the discrimination you experience in Texas actually kind of follows you in a way. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: It can. 

 

Brian Beutler: If you relocate, it can. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: The most vulnerable among us, right? The most vulnerable among us, those who don’t have the financial resources to leave, they’re either going to be stuck in these unsafe states or they’re going to run away to a new state with even less resources. And, you know, I just I wish when I become king, I will fix all of it. [laughter] You know, I don’t know what else to say. 

 

Brian Beutler: So the book Joy to the World depicts, I think it’s fair to say, depicts the loudest and most hateful, anti-trans voices as being, even though they’re loud as a minority, I think of the opposition to trans equality that for the most part, the people who oppose trans kids playing sports or health care for trans kids aren’t like hardened ideologues or driven by by hatred. Has that been your experience in real life? Because sometimes it feels as if the loudest. Anti-trans voices are drowning out everything else. And that’s that’s who they all are. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: I believe there’s a lot of people out there who truly believe that they are trying to protect transgender children because of the false information that they’ve been given. I don’t know how we overcome that. 

 

Brian Beutler: Well, what have you found to be particularly effective ways of reaching people like that? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Well, again, back before the Trump presidency, Kai and I would go meet with conservative politicians and we would go to conservative evangelical churches and meet with the pastors and their staff. And we would speak at small congregational churches across the state of Texas and the Trump presidency when all this rhetoric and hatred started to increase, those avenues shut down. So what we do now is we continue to try to put out a positive, hopeful message through her book and through her social media. And and, you know, just meeting our neighbors, we come to Connecticut, and I’m surprised how many people here have no clue that there’s even an anti-trans movement [laughs] you know. And so I think just continuing to try to tell our story and there’s so many of us, right when I when I see some of the other families that have been doing this, you know, alongside of us for all of these years, and some of them are doing, you know, public speaking and some of them are, you know, in the movies and some are doing documentaries. And we have all these different avenues. And it’s almost like you can see all of us parents just like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. And I think that that’s kind of what we’re doing. We’re just throwing everything out there where, you know, like we have a documentary that’s going to be on PBS tonight on Independent Lens. Kai has a book out. You know, she’s been in a, in a Netflix show. And like like we’re just doing everything that we can, everything that we can. And we just really need people to help us because we’ve seen this time in history before. I mean, where we’re at now with book bans like we’ve seen, we’ve seen those historically and the things that come after that when when society allows these things like book burnings and book banning’s and they let them go, it it continues on a trajectory that we don’t want to continue on. 

 

Brian Beutler: A theme of a lot of the of the trans activism I’ve picked up on. I think it’s from the ACLU and other similar organizations, is that they think the best messengers for persuading that kind of soft opposition or people who think that they’re actually helping are are the parents. And I think ideally the conservative parents of trans kids. Has that applied to your family and has it has it been helpful to you as you’ve tried to persuade people in your community or other skeptics you’ve encountered? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Yeah. So in the beginning when Kai came out, it took a year for me to accept her because I was ultra conservative. I was a Republican, I was an ordained minister in one of the largest churches in the United States. I did a traveling ministry to do revivals across the the Bible Belt. So like, I was the poster child for for being a conservative. And that did give us a pretty good platform for a while. And we still try to to to meet. I’m going to be honest. I’m I’m not trying. I have to reach conservatives. They’re the people that that can really make a difference, that the Democrats are already the majority welcoming us. But remember, there’s still a large portion of the Democrats who are against trans people. There is a a portion of the LGBT community that’s against trans people. And we we do have to work those areas. And but for me, it’s the conservatives just trying to try to reach those that population. Right. Like other mothers with kids who have special needs or other needs or they have seemed to be able to to understand better. Right. Because ultimately she was born transgender. We didn’t choose it. It’s not like we marked a box and we wanted it. Right. It’s just it’s the hand that we’ve been dealt. We’re just trying to do our best to make sure that she has a fulfilling life. [music plays]

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Brian Beutler: What would you say? Or what do you say maybe to to people who are on your side of this fight who hear that and say, you know, that’s that’s just conformism? You’re you’re saying that to achieve legal and social equality, we have to be or act like people who are unlike us. And we don’t need to put our conservative foot forward to appeal to people who fundamentally just don’t don’t agree with the place we have in society or the place we’re entitled to in society. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Every person should use their own personally, their own gifts and their own talents to reach people. I’m not asking someone who is an who, who has always been liberal to try to act like they’re a conservative, to reach a conservative audience. I think every single family who has a trans kid in it, they need to be authentic to who they are and whatever their gift or their talent or their opportunity is, use that because we have to reach more people and and for people who are on our side quietly like [laughs] we’re going to need you to not be quiet anymore. You know, if I could ask a favor of anyone, it would be when you hear a transphobic comment, you know, ask them, what do you mean by that? Like, call them out in a way that’s not aggressive, but, you know, ask them, like, what do you mean by that? I don’t I don’t think that’s true. Or in the comments section in social media. I mean, it’s just however, you can shut it down. I want you to think about my daughter. When you hear people say things like that, she she’s 12 years old. She’s beautiful, she’s articulate, she’s she’s herself, she’s happy, she’s well-adjusted. And and I just need you to think about her when they say those things and realize that, letting those comments go. It’s not right. And and I just ask people not to allow those things to go unchallenged. 

 

Brian Beutler: And that goes I’m guessing you would say for for politicians, too, that plunging your head in the sand and hoping that the that the sort of bigotry of well, any bigotry will just vanish on its own because people will see that it’s bad are kind of abdicating a moral responsibility. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: So it hasn’t vanished yet and it’s completely getting worse. I mean, this year we saw—

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: —what happened at Target stores and we saw what happened with Bud Light. And and these things are increasing. And it’s very scary. It’s very scary because I want to know, like, are my neighbors going to be bold enough to to to help me? Are are they going to be bold enough to to help an adult trans person? Are they like, what are what are we doing? We need we need we need the help. We need the help. 

 

Brian Beutler: So earlier this year, the Biden administration proposed a new rule under Title IX that. Forgive me if I’m oversimplifying this, but it would ban outright discrimination against trans athletes in school, but would allow schools and communities to restrict trans participation in sports If if the school or the community can articulate a fairness and competition rationale to say can’t can’t allow trans girls to play basketball because whatever. Do you think the administration hit the sweet spot of consensus with that rule, or do you think that they tried too hard to placate people who can’t be placated? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: What other marginalized group would the president come out and say you can segregate them if you can find a reason to? That’s all I have to say about that. I mean, I testified in favor of the Equality Act in 2019 and Kai and I flew out to D.C. They had a hearing and the education committee. I just thought something, you know, we have the presidency. We have like I just I just thought we would have gained more, more ground politically. 

 

Brian Beutler: And if the if the administration reached out to you or or explained their thinking to the media or whatever, and they said, we think this is the best way to keep the federal government out of the issue or we’re trying to make sure that we can enshrine equality for for trans youth in law without the Supreme Court telling us we’re overstepping. And we think that this was as far as we could go. Would you believe them if they if they told you that that was why they wrote the rule the way they did? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: So I am not a political strategist. I’m just a mom. [laughter] Right. But I worry about the Supreme Court that we have now. I worry about the Supreme Court we have now. Right. I do. Is that their long game? I don’t. I you know, I don’t know. What I continue to say is what other minority group, marginalized group. Is it okay for you to explain the ways that it is okay to segregate them from sports? Segregate them from a restroom? Segregate them from living? What other group? Because right now, the trans community is under attack. Hate crimes, you know, prejudice at your work and in your housing and in your schooling. And I just I feel like the trans community is a palatable group to hate and attack at every possible level, even in the comment section on social media. It’s just it’s getting worse. The rhetoric is getting worse and it’s getting dangerous because when you read those comments, there is actually people behind those comments who think that. 

 

Brian Beutler: And the Equality Act would the idea behind that legislation have been to basically leave out all the stuff unless you can articulate a rationale. Was the idea there that it would created sort of a federal right so that the federal government always was on the side of of trans youth playing sports in school? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Well, the Equality Act wasn’t just for trans people. It was for all minority groups to be able to have an equal footing. Right. And that’s just all we want is for her to be seen as as a person. 

 

Brian Beutler: Kai you just you just finished your school year, is that right? 

 

Kai Shappley: Yeah. 

 

Brian Beutler: First school year in Connecticut, then? 

 

Kai Shappley: Yes. 

 

Brian Beutler: How was it? 

 

Kimberly Shappley: We, we, we, we struggled through school in Connecticut, but it was for multiple reasons. Like just middle school is awkward. Being the kid that’s not from here is awkward. Having a Southern drawl and a really thick accent is awkward and—

 

Kai Shappley: I keep getting my grades cut down because I write words like wanna and gonna and out— [laughter] And y’all.

 

Kimberly Shappley: Yeah. 

 

Brian Beutler: The the challenges were more the kind of challenges that you expect kids to face— 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Average kiddo may have. Yeah. Yeah. And of course there’s the rogue student or two who has anti-trans things to say. But when your superintendent isn’t attacking you and your mayor isn’t attacking you and your governor is not attacking you, it’s something that you can like kind of figure out a little more. It’s not as horrible. Right. [laughs] It’s not as horrible. 

 

Brian Beutler: Thank you, guys, for spending so much of your time with me, with us on this episode. 

 

Kai Shappley: And thank you for letting us be here. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: Oh Kai has to always say one last thing in all of her interviews. 

 

Kai Shappley: And Dolly Parton, if you’re listening to this, call me. I’ve been waiting seven years. [laughter]

 

Brian Beutler: How about this? If Dolly Parton calls you because she was listening to this, you have to let us know. 

 

Kimberly Shappley: For sure. 

 

Brian Beutler: All right. It’s a deal. Thank you both so much. 

 

Kai Shappley: Thank y’all for having us. [music plays]

 

Brian Beutler: Here’s how I’d boil all of that down. There’s something about U.S. politics and political culture and discourse right now that’s making families feel like they have no choice but to pack up their belongings and move to more welcoming places. They’re not moving for job opportunities or because the economy in some states is better than others, or they prefer one climate to another, or they’re looking for more affordable housing options. They’re moving because they don’t feel welcomed. They don’t feel like staying is emotionally healthy and that it may even be a risk to their physical safety and freedom. That’s true of many trans families. It’s also true of women of childbearing age in much of the country now. It’s created this free state ban state contrast that has put many Democratic governors on alert and forced them to create plans to protect their doctors and all of their citizens for retribution they might face if they happen to cross the wrong state line. Obviously, this kind of thing isn’t totally new in American society. But how many episodes in American history that entailed driving minorities out of their homes and communities do we look back on today with pride? And as Kimberly and Kai both said, there’s no easy way to uproot a family under those circumstances. Most families are not rich and just can’t do it easily. Zero families, even rich ones like feeling targeted in their communities and moving from state to state is famously hard for kids even when they’re doing it because dad’s in the military. Or mom found a new job. There are whole books and movies about that. And I guess what I’d stress to people who don’t feel like they have a stake in the right wing campaign against trans kids and their parents is that indifference means more kids will have to go through that and a period of limbo girls like Kai are living through will last longer than it has to. [music plays] Positively Dreadful is a Crooked Media production. Our executive producer is Michael Martinez, our associate producer, is Emma Illick-Frank, and our intern is Naomi Birenbaum. Evan Sutton mixes and edits the show each week. Our theme music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos. 

 

[AD BREAK]