A Republican, Christian mom of a trans child sounds off on Trump's bathroom order.

Kimberly Shappley didn't vote for Barack Obama, but she recalls the exact moment she became grateful for him.

A lifelong conservative Republican, Shappley found herself sobbing with joy when then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch told transgender Americans, "We see you" and "We stand with you" a few days before the White House issued guidelines requiring schools to treat students' gender identity as their sex.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.


"I sobbed with relief, and in my mind, I thought our fight just got shortened and it was going to be easier," Shappley says.

Shappley's daughter Kai started telling her mom that she was a girl at age 3. At first, they tried to discourage her, hiding "girl toys" and even punishing her for insisting, but after meetings with a series of psychologists and psychiatrists, the Texas nursing student and devout evangelical Christian began to accept she had a daughter.

Shappley was always skeptical of the Trump administration's claims that it would support LGBTQ rights, given Mike Pence's record of supporting measures limiting them.

That didn't make the Justice and Education departments' Feb. 22, 2017, announcement rescinding the Obama-era guidelines any easier to stomach, particularly the notion that protections for trans students should be a "states' rights" issue.  

“He just threw my kid under the bus, so to speak," she says. "He just said it’s OK for people to discriminate against her because of where we live. It’s still the United States. I shouldn’t have to decide which town or state is safe enough or welcoming enough or kind enough to let us live there."

It was a crushing blow after losing her family and almost all of her friends when her daughter came out.

Living in a conservative Houston suburb, many of her neighbors still have trouble accepting her daughter is a girl who belongs in the girls' bathroom.

Kai Shappley. Photo by Kimberly Shappley/Facebook.

Still, after months of agonizing, Shappley made the decision to continue to attend her church, where she says she and Kai still get dirty looks. Nevertheless, she believes it's important to continue to engage her community, even if that means changing one mind at a time.

"They still have to see me and they still have to see my daughter, and they still have to see that we love the Lord, that we still study our Bible, that we still pray, that we’re still good people," she says. "And I think that a lot of times the best advocacy is just being there, being present, being seen, and not hiding."

Through online support and advocacy groups, Shappley keeps in close touch with thousands of moms of transgender youth who identify as Christian. She says helping Kai navigate the world has enriched her faith.

Kimberly and Kai. Photo by Kimberly Shappley/Facebook.

"One of the things that I realized for me is that the Bible helps me be a better person," she says. "The Bible doesn’t help me tell other people how to be a better person, and that’s not what it was given to us for. It’s not a weapon for us to hurt other people, or tell them what they’re supposed to do or not do. It’s there so that we read it and we change."

Shappley doesn't expect Trump to come around to her way of thinking, though she hopes he heeds his own advice from the campaign trail.

"He said it didn’t matter to him which bathroom Caitlyn Jenner used at Trump Tower. If that is really true, and that is at the core of what he believes, then he should tell people that: 'This is right, and this is wrong. This is what I see.'"

In the bathroom debate, she sees parallels to the civil rights movement, where public safety concerns were used to mask a broader bigotry.

Winning with opponents in the White House, she believes, will mean fighting in every school district in every town across America.

Photo by Kimberly Shappley/Facebook.

"Call your school board members. Call your superintendent," she advises. "Call them, call them, call them. These are people that are elected, so just continuing to call them and let them hear. Whether they agree or not isn’t even the point. So I would encourage everyone who votes, especially, to call the school board members where you live. Call your superintendent that you elected."

Fighting on Kai's behalf and encouraging others to do so, she explains, is her duty a parent and a Christian.

"Is it challenging? Yes. Is it discouraging? Yes. But I can’t just stop because right now my child is 6 and I’m fighting for her now so that when she’s 13 or 20 or 50 or 75 years old that hopefully I’ve done enough, I’ve been loud enough, I’ve been vocal enough that there’s been change. Because as her mom, I won’t always be there for her."

For Shappley herself, that means continuing to show up.

Kimberly (rear center), Kai (front center), and family. Photo by Eric Edward Schell.

"We want people to see that we’re just people. We’re a family. We’re crazy, and our house is sometimes messy. It’s crazy to think that we have to show people that we’re human."

True

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

via Lina Trochez / Unsplash

Genuine forgiveness is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to another person. Being forgiven is an amazing relief for the individual and allows the relationship to forge ahead without any debilitating emotional baggage.

However, people often disregard the life-altering benefits that come with being someone who is able to practice forgiveness.

The ability to completely let go of resentment isn't just great for us psychologically. Our bodies and minds are so interconnected that being able to forgive has physical benefits as well.

What happens when we don't forgive?

Keep Reading Show less
True

This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Many Americans had been hoping for an overwhelming Biden landslide win in this election. Not just the clear majority victory that it turned out to be, but a full-on tsunami that would thoroughly wash away the stain of Trumpism from America forever.

That didn't happen. And we really shouldn't be surprised by that.

As in 2016, there's a push in the social discourse to try to understand why 71 million Americans thought Donald Trump was a better choice than Joe BIden. (Cue the thousandth media interview with a rural, small-town American.) But Trumpism isn't that hard to understand. It's multi-faceted and multi-layered, but it's not complicated. In fact, simplicity is one of its key features, which I'll explain in a minute.

I am going to speak frankly and somewhat forcefully about my fellow Americans here, but first I want to be clear about my perspective. I am a political independent who would best be described as "leaning left," though I hate those kinds of labels. I have always voted for both Democrats and Republicans, including on my own state's ballot in this election. The only real passion I have for politics is my disgust with our two-party system, so don't take my words here as toeing some partisan or ideological line.


Keep Reading Show less

The world has come a long way in the past few decades when it comes to acceptance of people in the LGBTQ+ community. Those of us who grew up in pre-millennial generations remember a very different time, when hiding one's sexual orientation or identity was the norm, homophobic jokes barely batted an eye, and seeing someone living an "out and proud" life was far less common than it is today.

That was the world Dan Levy grew up in. The Schitt's Creek actor and co-creator was born in 1983, and on the day of the series finale of Schitt's Creek, his mom Deborah Divine shared a tweet that perfectly encapsulates not only the changes we've seen in society since then, but the impact Levy himself has had on that world.

She wrote:

Keep Reading Show less