A 9-year-old Texan boy called Joseph, who now identifies as a girl called Kai, is playing a transgender girl called Bailey for the Netflix remake of the 1990s show The Baby-Sitters Club.
Let’s unpack this, shall we?
Joseph’s parents claim that they realized he was a girl when he was around 18 months old. His mother, Kimberly Shappley, who describes herself as a conservative Christian, explains how she struggled when her young son started exhibiting stereotypically feminine behaviors. In a 2017 article for Good Housekeeping, Mrs. Shappley describes one night when Joseph was “very young” and she was “tucking [him] into bed.”
[His] legs were cold and, concerned, I lifted the sheets, discovering [he] had taken a pair of panties off a baby doll and put them [himself]. It was constricting [his] blood circulation and if [he’d] slept that way overnight, it could have become very dangerous. After that experience, I realized I could no longer ignore something very real about my child: My son, born Joseph Paul Shappley, is a girl.
Is this the most staggering non-sequitur of all time? Wait for the second paragraph:
I was raised as a devout, conservative Christian with strong Republican values in the South. It’s a place where being different can not only be unforgiving, but unsafe. I was, and am, an active member of our local church. I used to lead a small ministry teaching Bible study, and I didn’t support or condone those living the LGBTQ lifestyle. That was just part of the Christian makeup I’d been brought up to believe. I knew I’d instill those same principles in my children.
For some parents, it’s easier to think that their boy is really a girl than it is to think that he is a boy who might grow up to be effeminate or (as some research indicates) homosexual. Transsexualism is the only accepted way to be gay in Iran, for instance.
Bizarrely, though, Netflix views supposedly transgender children as a progressive cause worth championing. In The Baby-Sitter’s Club, there’s a scene where Bailey (played by poor Joseph) is admitted to hospital, whereupon Mary Anne, his babysitter, is handed a blue gown. “I don’t want the blue one,” Bailey says. (Never mind that every patient in the hospital wears the same color.) The doctors then repeatedly “misgender” Bailey, by — you know — reading his biological sex from his chart. Identifying this micro-aggression, teenage Mary Anne then asks to speak to them outside.
I know you guys are busy, but as you would see if you looked at her and not her chart, Bailey is not a boy. And by treating her like one you are completely ignoring who she is. You’re making her feel insignificant and humiliated. And that’s not going to make her feel good or safe or calm. So from here on out please recognize her for who she is.
But since when did doctors take their cues from sanctimonious teenagers? If the doctors in this scenario had looked at the patient, instead of the patient’s chart, they would have seen a pre-pubescent child with long hair. Treating patients is similar to raising children in that acknowledging the material reality of biological sex happens to be quite important.