POLITICS

Missouri Dad Recalls Learning To Accept His Transgender Child In Epic Speech

Brandon Boulware, an attorney and father of four, spoke out against a state proposal that would ban trans athletes from women's sports earlier this month.

A Missouri man is garnering national attention for a powerful testimony delivered on behalf of his daughter, who is transgender. 

Brandon Boulware, a Kansas City attorney and father of four, spoke out at a March 3 hearing on House Joint Resolution 53, a proposal to effectively ban transgender athletes in high school from participating in girls’ sports. In his speech, he recalled the day he learned to embrace his transgender daughter as her authentic self.

“I forced my daughter to wear boy clothes, get short haircuts and play on boy sports teams,” Boulware said in the speech. “Why did I do this? 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.”

His mindset began to shift when his daughter asked if she would be permitted to play with some neighborhood friends if she changed into boys’ clothes first.

“My daughter was equating being good with being someone else,” he observed. “I was teaching her to deny who she is. On that day, my wife and I stopped silencing our child’s spirit.” 

Boulware urged Missouri lawmakers to reject House Joint Resolution 53, which “will have real effects on real people.” 

“Let them have their childhoods,” he said. “Let them be who they are.”

The attorney was one of several Missouri residents who spoke out against the proposal at the March 3 hearing. His words, however, have by far had the broadest reach after footage of the speech was shared Sunday on social media by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). As of Monday afternoon, the clip had received more than 240,000 likes on Instagram and had been retweeted more than 6,000 times. 

Missouri is one of more than 20 U.S. states that is proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirmation health care for transgender minors. Last week, Mississippi became the first state to enact such legislation after a federal court blocked an Idaho law last year. South Dakota is widely expected to follow suit.

Such bills continue to be promoted by conservative lawmakers, many of whom have cited President Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere in their arguments for backing such laws. 

Former President Donald Trump touched on the issue during his Feb. 28 appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. 

“Joe Biden and the Democrats are even pushing policies that would destroy women’s sports,” Trump said. “Young girls and women are incensed that they are now being forced to compete against those who are biological males.”