A father in Missouri has delivered a short, powerful speech to lawmakers debating a bill concerned with trans athletes and school sports.
House Joint Resolution 53 (HJR 53) wants to restrict students to participating only in sports in accordance with the sex they were assigned at birth. It would specifically ban trans girls from participating in female sports and would amend the Missouri constitution to include the ban.
Brandon Boulware addressed a Missouri House committee on March 3, but the speech has gone viral since appearing the ACLU posted it to social media in the last couple of days.
MUST WATCH: Brandon Boulware, the father of a transgender daughter, testifies during a hearing asking Missouri lawmakers to stop discriminating against trans youth. pic.twitter.com/bTuSoyE1nW
— ACLU (@ACLU) March 15, 2021
Boulware introduces himself as a business lawyer, Christian, and son of a Methodist Minister. He is married and has four kids: two boys and two girls, including, “a wonderful and beautiful transgender daughter.”
He says that one thing he often hears when transgender issues are discussed is, “I don’t get it. I don’t understand.” He says he can emphasize as he also used to feel that way.
He says for years he used to force his daughter to play with boys’ toys, play on boys’ sports teams, have her hair cut short, and wear boys’ clothing. He did it in an effort to protect his child and her siblings from teasing, and to also protect himself: “I wanted to avoid those inevitable questions as to why my child did not look and act like a boy.”
He goes on to say the impact this had on his child.
“My child was miserable. I cannot overstate that … especially at school. No confidence, no friends, no laughter. I honestly say this, I had a child who did not smile.”
He goes on to talk of the day everything changed for him. He had arrived home from work and his daughter was playing on the front lawn with one of her brothers. She had sneaked on an old play dress belonging to her older sister.
She asked if she could go over the road to play with some of a neighbor’s kids. The dad said no and told her it was nearly time for dinner. His daughter asked him if she went in and changed into boy clothes, would she be allowed to stay out a bit longer and play with the other kids.
“It was then that it hit me. My daughter was equating being good with being someone else,” he says.
“I was teaching her to deny who she is. As a parent, the one thing we cannot do is silence our child’s spirit. 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. It was immediate. It was a total transformation.
“I now have a confident, smiling, happy daughter. She plays on a girls’ volleyball team. She has friendships. She’s a kid.”
Boulware’s testimony failed to persuade lawmakers. HJR 53 passed one House committee last week by a vote of 8-6. It now awaits a vote in another.
If it passes that, it will go to the House of Representatives and Senate. If it succeeds, and because it is a constitutional amendment, it would have to go before Missouri voters in November 2022.
Missouri is currently considering two trans-specific pieces of legislation. Another bill debated last week is seeking to make transition-related medical treatments, such as puberty blockers, illegal for minors.