10-year-old trans girl brilliantly calls out Texas lawmakers for attacking her since 'pre-K'
via Texas State Senate and The ACLU

There has been a tidal wave of anti-trans legislation proposed over the past few months in the U.S. At least 17 states are now considering restricting anyone under the age of 18 from transition-related care.

Texas is currently debating two anti-trans bills. Once would criminalize parents for allowing their children to receive gender-affirming treatments. Another would criminalize healthcare professionals who administer them.

For a state that prides itself on promoting personal freedom, these bills go out of their way to punish medical professionals and parents for making deeply personal choices. Shouldn't doctors and parents have the right to make medical decisions for children without the state's involvement?


At a hearing for the legislation, one of the bill's lead sponsors, Republican State Senator Charles Perry, said he felt obliged to protect children "who have not reached the maturity to understand what is being proposed nor the impact on them in perpetuity."

10-year-old Kai Shappley, a transgender girl, testified at the hearing and delivered a polite, but blistering rebuttal to conservative lawmakers.

Kai is best known for her role on Netflix's "The Baby-Sitters Club." She was also the subject of an Emmy-winning short film by the ACLU, "Trans in America: Texas Strong."

Her performance at the hearing showed that legislation like this was hurtful to children who are already dealing with major challenges. "I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices," Shappley told lawmakers. "I've been having to explain myself since I was 3 or 4 years old. Texas legislators have been attacking me since pre-K. I am in fourth grade now."

"It makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist," she said.

She also responded to Perry who gave a religious reason for his anti-trans legislation. "God made me. God loves me for who I am, and God does not make mistakes," Shappley responded.

She also urged lawmakers to educate themselves on the topic and reminded them that "bullying is bad."

Kai gave some historical context to the hearing by reminding lawmakers they are clearly on the wrong side of history. "I want to say thank you to those of you who are sticking up for kids like me," she said. "By the time I'm in college, you will be celebrated in the history books."

After her testimony, she was greeted by a warm round of applause.

It's a shame to see a 10-year-old girl appear at a hearing to affirm her basic rights to a group of people who clearly have no idea what she and other children like her go through. But her appearance does put a real, human face to this legislation and shows the world who these lawmakers are demonizing.

Kai Shappley shouldn't have to do what she does, but it's truly incredible to see someone so young, poised, and credible have the confidence at such a young age to speak truth to power.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."