A father’s plea to politicians to allow his trans daughter to “be who she is” has gone viral on social media.
Brandon Boulware was speaking to Missouri state legislators in the United States about a resolution which would require children to play on sports teams corresponding to their gender assigned at birth.
Mr Boulware, who described himself as a business lawyer, a Christian, and the son of a Methodist minister, told politicians about his initial struggles to come to terms with the gender identity of his “wonderful and beautiful transgender daughter”.
“One thing I often hear when transgender issues are discussed is, ‘I don’t get it, I don’t understand’,” he said.
“I didn’t get it either. For years, I didn’t get it.
“For years I would not let my daughter wear girl clothes, I did not let her play with girl toys.
“I forced my daughter to wear boy clothes, and get short haircuts, and play on boys’ sports teams.”
Mr Boulware said he did this to “protect” his daughter so she and her siblings would not get teased.
“And truth be told, I did it to protect myself as well,” he added.
“I wanted to avoid those inevitable questions as to why my child did not look and act like a boy.”
Mr Boulware said this made his daughter “miserable” and left her with no friends and no confidence.
“I had a child who did not smile,” he said.
He went on to detail how he came to realise he was “teaching her to deny who she is” and eventually started to allow her to dress and act as she wanted.
He said: “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 – and I mean it was immediate.
“It was a total transformation.
“I now have a confident, a smiling, a happy daughter.”
He said the proposed legislation would prevent his daughter from playing on her volleyball team, tennis team or dance squad.
“I ask you please don’t take that away from my daughter or the countless others like her who are out there,” he said.
“Let them have their childhoods, let them be who they are.”
A clip of the hearing in the Missouri House of Representatives, held on March 3, was released on social media by American Civil Liberties Union on Monday.
By Tuesday evening, it had been viewed more than five million times.
Mississippi has already passed similar legislation, while more than 20 other states are proposing such restrictions on athletes.