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Texas Trans Girl Is Named a TIME ‘Kid of the Year’ Finalist

11-year-old Kai Shappley is being honored as a trans-rights activist.

Kai Shappley (photo via Instagram)

If you’re an avid OutSmart reader, you’re most likely a fan of Kai Shappley. 

The 11-year-old transgender Texan has been making headlines since 2016, when she and her mother fought back against Pearland ISD’s anti-trans bathroom policy. Two years later, her story became the subject of the Emmy Award-winning film Trans in America: Texas Strong, as well as several popular streaming documentaries.   

A few months after she portrayed Bailey in Netflix’s 2020 reboot of The Baby-Sitters Club, Shappley was at the Texas Capitol urging lawmakers to vote against several bills aimed at banning gender-affirming treatments for trans children. One of her testimonies went viral and she garnered thousands of followers across her social media, where she continues advocating for trans rights. 

Shappley is now being honored by TIME magazine as a ‘Kid of The Year’ finalist. The national publication made the announcement in a January 12 article titled “Kid of the Year Finalist Kai Shappley, 11, Takes on Lawmakers in Her Fight for Trans Rights,” in which she discusses activism, her career aspirations, her love for Dolly Parton, and more.

“Proud to be a finalist for TIME Kid of the Year,” Shappley shared to her over 11,000 Instagram followers. “Activism matters to me because it’s a way to show that we belong. It’s a way to show that we fight for what is right. We won’t sit silent.” 

Kid of the Year was launched by TIME (in partnership with the Nickelodeon network) in 2020. The first honoree was 15-year-old scientist Gitanjali Rao, who invented a mobile device to test lead in drinking water.   

To read Kai Shappley’s ‘Kid of the Year’ finalist profile, go here.

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.
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