JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers met in Missouri’s capitol on March 3 to discuss if voters should decide whether transgender students should be required to play sports on the team that reflects the sex on their birth certificate.
Testimony from Brandon Boulware, a father from Kansas City, has been viewed millions of times after he spoke in front of the Missouri House emergency issues committee.
Boulware spoke about his experience with his transgender daughter. He said at first he didn’t accept it, but now he sees how this resolution could hurt her chance of playing sports.
The ACLU posted video of Boulware’s testimony on social media Monday, and it quickly went viral, receiving more 6 million views on Twitter and more than 300,000 views on the organization’s Instagram.
“My name is Brandon Boulware and chairman I’ll go as quickly as I can. I’m a lifelong Missourian. I’m a business lawyer. I’m a Christian. I’m the son of a Methodist minister. I’m a husband. I’m the father of four kids, two boys, two girls, including a wonderful and a beautiful transgender daughter.
Today happens to be her birthday. I chose to be here. She doesn’t know that. She thinks I’m at work.
One thing I often hear when transgender issues are discussed is I don’t get it. I don’t understand. I would expect some of you to have said that and feel the same way.
I didn’t get it either for years. I would not let my daughter wear girl clothes. I did not let her play with girl toys. I forced my daughter to wear boy clothes and get short haircuts and play on boys’ sports teams.
Why did I do this? To protect my child. I did not want my daughter or her siblings to get teased. 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.
My child was miserable. I cannot overstate that she was absolutely miserable. Especially at school. No confidence, no friends, no laughter. I honestly say this, I had a child who did not smile. We did that for years. We did that against the advice of teachers, therapists, and other experts.
I remember the day everything changed for me. I’d gotten home from work and my daughter and her brother were on the front lawn. She had sneaked on one of her older sister’s play dresses and they wanted to go across the street and play with the neighbor’s kids.
It was time for dinner I said, ‘Come in.’ She asked can she go across the street. I said, ‘no.’ She asked me if she went inside and put on boy clothes, could she then go across the street and play.
It’s then that it hit me, that my daughter was equating being good with being someone else. I was teaching her to deny who she is. As a parent, the one thing we cannot do is silence our child’s spirit. And so on that day my wife and I stopped silencing our child’s spirit. The moment we allowed my daughter to be who she is, to grow her hair, to wear the clothes she wanted to wear, she was a different child.
I mean it was immediate. It was a total transformation. I now have a confident, smiling, happy daughter. She plays on a girl’s volleyball team. She has friendships. She’s a kid.
I came here today as a parent to share my story. I need you to understand, that this language, if it becomes law, will have real effects on real people. It will affect my daughter. It will mean she cannot play on the girl’s volleyball team or dance squad or tennis team. I ask you please don’t take that away from my daughter or the countless others like her who are out there. Let them have their childhoods. Let them be who they are. I ask you to vote against this legislation.”Transcript of Brandon Boulware’s testimony
The Missouri State High School Activities Association already has policies in place for transgender students involved in sports. According to the handbook, transgender boys (female to male) can participate on boys’ and co-ed teams, but transgender girls (male to female) cannot play on girls’ teams.
The handbook goes on to say that if a transgender boy has taken hormone treatment, he may compete on a boys’ team but can no long eligible to play on a girls’ team. For transgender girls, hormone treatment means they can continue to play on a boys’ team but cannot play on a girls’ team.
If the resolution passes both chambers and gets the governor’s signature, it would be on the ballot for voters to decide in 2022.