Proud dad of a trans kid shares the moment he learned to accept his daughter for who she is in moving speech
A father of four has shared the moment he realised that he was wrong to deny his trans kid her truth in a powerful and moving testimony.
Brandon Boulware, a lawyer, Christian and son of a Methodist minister, was speaking in Missouri against a proposed anti-trans bill that would effectively ban trans kids, including his volleyball-loving daughter, from playing on school sports teams.
At the March 3 hearing for House Joint Resolution 53, which would force high school athletes to compete on sports teams according to their sex assigned at birth, Boulware described how for several years he and his wife made their daughter wear “boy clothes”, have a short haircut, and refused to let her play with “girl toys”.
“Why did I do this?” Boulware asked. “To protect my child… and, truth be told, I did it to protect myself as well. I wanted to avoid those inevitable questions as to why my child did not look and act like a boy.”
As a result of his parenting, Boulware said he had a child “who did not smile”. He described how he and his wife continued parenting their daughter like this for years, against the advice of her teachers, therapists and other experts, who were telling him and his wife that if they affirmed their daughter’s gender – by letting her be herself – she would be happier.
“My child was miserable,” Boulware said. “I cannot overstate that. She was absolutely miserable. Especially at school. No confidence, no friends, no laughter.”
The moment of reckoning came one regular weekday afternoon. Boulware returned home to find his daughter playing dress-up in her older sister’s dresses, and she asked if she could go across the street to play with the neighbours children.
Boulware told her no, so she asked if she would be allowed if she changed into “boy clothes” first.
“It’s then that it hit me. My daughter was equating being good with being someone else,” Boulware observed, audibly emotional. “I was teaching her to deny who she is. As a parent the one thing we cannot do… is silence our child’s spirit.”
He continued: “And so on that day, my wife and I stopped silencing our child’s spirit.”
Boulware described how his daughter is now happy, confident, has friends and plays on several girls teams, including volleyball and tennis.
He said: “The moment we allowed our daughter to be who she is, to grow her hair, to wear the clothes she wanted to wear, she was a different child. And I mean it was immediate. It was a total transformation.
“I now have a confident, a smiling, a happy daughter. She has friendships. She’s a kid.”
The proposed anti-trans bill is one of many being put forward by Republicans attacking trans youth, including ones barring them from playing school sports, criminalising doctors for providing trans healthcare and forcing trans girls to use men’s bathrooms.
Boulware pleaded with Missouri lawmakers to reject HJR53, saying it would “have real effects on real people”.
“Let them have their childhoods,” he said. “Let them be who they are.”
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