PEARLAND, Texas (FOX 26) - At just five years old, Kai Shappley has become the face of an ongoing fight for fairness in Pearland. She is a child who sees the world through a little girl's eyes while living with the male physiology she was born with. It is a reality wrought with painful, even life-threatening challenge.
"A transgender student is saying, 'Am I going to be bullied? Am I going to be okay? Where am I going to use the bathroom?' They shouldn't be having to think about these things," said Lou Weaver, coordinator for Equality Texas. "We need to make sure everybody has the same environment."
It is for transgender students like Kai that the Pres. Obama administration issued guidelines ordering schools across the country to grant these children access to the bathroom of their choice. Challenged by Texas and 12 other states, a federal judge today has placed the new Presidential guidelines on hold.
"I don't think it is proper to compromise the privacy and the modesty of our little girls or even the little boys," said U.S. Rep. Brian Babin.
The Port Arthur Republican has filed legislation seeking to overturn guidelines he sees as ripe for exploitation.
"This is just out of bounds, overreach, lack of common sense and jeopardization of our kids," said Congressman Babin.
While clearly a setback, lawyers advocating for the rights of transgender students say the latest court ruling temporarily derailed the bathroom guidelines on technical grounds, but left fully intact the argument that children are being denied fundamental civil rights.
"What we are talking about now is whether those kind of laws are meant to protect everybody from that kind of unfair discrimination or whether we are going to carve out this category of transgender kids and say no, it doesn't apply to you," said Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for ACLU of Texas.