Missouri dad Brandon Boulware told lawmakers this month that he understands if they don't "get" transgender issues, because he didn't for years—despite having a "wonderful and beautiful transgender daughter." He said that for years, he refused to let her wear "girl clothes" or play with "girl toys." Boulware, who described himself as a Christian and the son of a Methodist minister, said he did it to protect the girl and her three siblings from teasing, and himself from awkward questions. But his attitude changed the day she put on one of her older sister's dresses and asked if she could play at a friend's house, CBS reports. After he refused, she asked if she could go if she wore boy's clothes. "It was then that it hit me, that my daughter was equating being good with being someone else," Boulware said. "I was teaching her to deny who she is. As a parent, the one thing we cannot do, the one thing, is silence our child's spirit."
Boulware told a state House of Representatives committee that after he finally decided to take the advice of teachers and therapists and allow his daughter to grow her hair long and wear girl's clothes, the change from being a miserable "kid who never smiles" was profound. "I now have a confident, a smiling, a happy daughter," Boulware said. "She plays on girls' volleyball teams. She has friendships. She's a kid." He urged lawmakers at the March 3 hearing not to pass a bill that would ban transgender girls from female school sports teams. "I ask you please don’t take that away from my daughter or the countless others like her who are out there," he said, on what happened to be his daughter's birthday. People reports that video of his testimony has been viewed millions of times since the ACLU shared it in a Monday tweet. (Read more Missouri stories.)