Last Updated on January 6, 2020
In a resurrected article for Good Housekeeping magazine, a Christian mother recounts her tale of how her son began identifying as a girl from the age of 18 months, before commencing his gender transition at four years old.
Kimberly Shappley, a self-described Christian from strong Southern Republican values, says she began noticing her youngest son Kai “exhibiting very strong female characteristics” from an early age.
Shappley claims that she was a Christian mother trying to raise Christian family, which made the revelation of Kai’s preference for girlier things all the more difficult to swallow.
She admits that she was, initially, very resistant to Kai’s relative passivity towards more masculine pursuits–and she even recalls being in denial of Kai’s identity, telling her young son, “no, you’re a boy!”
Kai’s behavior led Kimberly to question her core beliefs, until Kimberly eventually began to accept Kai’s identity.
“But all of my beliefs and convictions were brought into question when, at 18 months old, Kai began exhibiting very strong female characteristics. From the moment my child was born, everything about Kai was geared toward femininity,” Kimberly writes.
She continued: “She would pull T-shirts down around her waist to make them into skirts. She would tie long-sleeved shirts around her head and pretend like it was long hair.
“I tried so hard to force her into wearing clothes with camouflage and superhero patterns, and I even gave her severe, flat-top haircuts.
“Kai has three other siblings who are boys, so it was also a very testosterone-filled family environment, which I thought might help. Everything was fishing and spitting and boy stuff. But Kai just continued to be Kai.”
Reconciling Kai’s gender identity with her Christianity was somewhat challenging, given some churches’ stances on LGBT rights/ideology.
She explains: “As a Christian mother raising a Christian family, it was a very difficult time for me. I wasn’t ready to give in and allow Kai to transition socially — especially at such a young age.
“My internal struggle beat me up daily. I felt like I couldn’t go against everything I’d been taught to believe, and yet I also couldn’t let Kai live in such obvious agony.
“I wasn’t ready to face the fact that my one-and-a-half-year-old child was a girl. That battle lasted for a couple years.”
When Kai was still a toddler, family and friends would notice his girly behavior and often inquire as to whether Kai was gay.
Taken aback by such lines of questioning, a child psychologist gently asked Kimberly, “have you noticed Kai’s feminine behavior?” She remembers it was being a ‘gentle question,’ to which she replied, “I’ve noticed, but I figure she’ll just grow out of it.”
She goes onto write: “By the time Kai was 3 1/2 years old, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. She was verbalizing that she was a girl at least six times a day.
“Everything was: “I’m a princess” and “I’m a girl.” Every time she’d say something like that, I’d get down on her level and firmly say, “No, you’re a boy.”
“It never worked. She would correct me by waiting until I was in the middle of something and unable to chase her around, then run into the room and yell, “I’m a girl!” and run out again.”
Eventually, Kimberly couldn’t persist in denying Kai.
Kimberly explains the steps she took: “I did everything I could think of to cut off that kind of talk. There were time-outs, so many time-outs. There were spankings and yelling matches and endless prayers.
“I even contacted the daycare Kai attended and asked them to put away every single “girl” toy.
“They complied with it, but Kai never changed her tune. The tenaciousness and bravery of this child is something from which I’ve learned so much.”
After much soul searching and seeking help from professionals, Kimberly allowed Kai to transition.
Kimberly admits that she receives much negativity from other Christians regarding her decision to allow Kai to transition.
Since the transition, Kimberly now surrounds her family with trans people to encourage and support Kai.
She claims that since Kai’s transition, “she was no longer lying, no bed-wetting, no more nightmares.
“I now have a happy, healthy, outgoing, loving, beautiful, sweet little girl who loves Jesus and loves her brothers.”