Inside Story: A family’s transition to save a daughter’s life

PEARLAND, Texas - It was August 2016 when a brave mother went before the Pearland ISD School Board, a moment that would transition the life of her family forever.

You see, Kimberly Shappley has a 6-year-old transgender daughter named Kai. And according to a 2011 survey, 41 percent of transgender kids will attempt suicide in their lifetime. That's a number that doesn't sit too well with Shappley, who believes a more supportive environment could change those numbers for good.

Following Shappley's plea in Pearland, a PISD policy was issued requiring transgender students to either use the bathroom that corresponds to their sex at birth, or a single-user restroom, such as the one in the nurse's office at Kai's school.

So, in May 2017, Shappley headed back to the podium at the school board, this time with support from the LGBT community and hopes of a new era, yet nothing changed.

Shappley, along with a network of LGBT activists, descended on the capital steps in Austin to oppose the Bathroom Bill, and her efforts paid off. The Bathroom Bill was killed before it ever reached the House for a vote.

But that's a win for the state and already trans-inclusive policies, which is not the case in Pearland.  Which means, for Shappley, the fight continues.

Let's check in on the Shappley family and the fight of a lifetime -- transgender rights -- in today's Inside Story from the pages of Houstonia.