MOTHER HELPS SON TRANSIT GENDER FROM BOY TO GIRL AGED 4
A MUM has opened up about her four-year-old’s difficult transition from a boy to a girl.
Kimberly Shappley, 46, from Texas, said she has finally come to terms with the fact that Kai, now six, is a girl – and she doesn’t regret letting her transition for a moment
She explained: “It’s not been easy. It’s taken us a long time and lots of tears to get here.
“But I doni transition. She always knew who she was – my wonderful little girl just needed to be set free.”
Since he was born in December 2010, Kimberly noticed her son – whom she called Joseph – was different from her other four boys and daughter.
As he got older, he got bored of the football and cars that his brothers loved and gravitated towards the dolls and the dressing-up box at nursery.
Joseph before transformation
At just 18 months old, Joseph started pulling down his T-shirts to turn them into dresses and putting long-sleeved tops over his head pretending they were long hair, while saying that boys were “gross”.
Kimberly told how family members picked up on it and would ask her picked up on it and would ask her if Joseph was gay.
She explained: “A friend who’s a child psychologist pointed out that he had very feminine behaviour, gently trying to tell me that he could be transgender.
“But I wasn’t ready to hear it and brushed it away, saying he’d grow out of it.”
In December 2013, Kimberly was stunned when Joseph told her “I’m a girl” for the first time.
“I was totally overwhelmed,” she said.
“I come from a conservative religious background and although I’d heard about people being transgender, it wasn’t something I necessarily agreed with.
“I phoned his nursery and asked them to keep him away from the girls’ toys and encouraged him to be more boyish, dressing him in Superman T-shirts and camouflage prints like his brothers and giving him a severe flat-top hair-cut.”
Kimberly recalled: “Every time he said ‘I’m a girl,’ or ‘I’m a princess,’ I would get down to his level and say, ‘No, you’re a boy’ – often giving him time-outs.”
But it had little effect and in the months that followed, Joseph became more withdrawn, suffered tantrums and began wetting the bed.
By the time he was three-and-a-half, he was saying that he was a girl up to six times a day.
In November 2014, while tucking Joseph into bed, Kimberly noticed that Joseph was wearing a tiny pair of pink knickers.
They were so small that they were cutting off the blood circulation in his legs and she realised he must have taken them from a doll.
Kimberly admitted: “Joseph was desperately trying to tell me who he was and I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
“Reading up on the subject, I reached out to a Facebook group of mothers of LGBTQ kids and heard about a transgender child who’d committed suicide after not being allowed to change sex.
“I couldn’t bear for anything like that to happen to us.”
joseph after transformation
So just after Joseph turned four, Kimberly bought him some girls underwear of his own and began letting him transition.
“It took me several attempts to buy the princess knickers as I got so upset,” she said.
“But when I handed them over, Joseph was so excited he cried and I decided to get him some more girls T-shirts and leggings.
“His older brothers and sister weren’t fazed at all and just accepted what was happening.
“We started calling him by his middle name ‘Kai’ and using ‘she’
and ‘her’ instead of ‘him’ or ‘his’, and we let her hair grow long.
“Not everyone was so accepting, and some accused me of being a
bad parent, but Kai was so much happier I knew I was doing the right thing.
“As time wore on and she became more confident, the tantrums and the bedwetting stopped and she became smiley and giggly again.”
When Kai started school in September 2015, Kimberly explained the situation and they accepted that Kai was a girl and would wear dresses to school.
She asked for Kai to be allowed to use the girls’ toilets but wasn’t given permission, so uses the school nurse’s facilities instead.
Kimberly has become an advocate on rights for transgender kids and is helping to raise awareness of the issue, regularly going on demonstrations and talking about the subject.
As time goes on, Kai continues to grow in confidence.