Love wins! (an Emmy!!)

Last night the “Trans in America: Texas Strong” team won an Emmy for Outstanding Short doc. We couldn’t be prouder:

Here is the writeup in the Dallas Voice:

The short documentary Trans In America: Texas Strong — created by ACLU and Little By Little Films and broadcast by them./Conde Nast Entertainment — has won Outstanding Short Documentary at the 40th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards, held Tuesday night, Sept. 24.

The short documentary tells the story of 8-year-old transgender child Kai Shappley and her mom, Kimberly Shappley, “a conservative Christian mother in Houston who has to reject her community’s beliefs when her 7-year-old daughter Kai comes out as transgender,” according to a press release from Little By Little Films. “Meanwhile, Kai has to navigate life at school where she’s been banned from the girls’ bathroom.”

The film premiered at South By Southwest (SXSW) 2019, won a Webby Award and a Webby People’s Voice Award in May 2019 and is now available to stream on Condé Nast’s platform “them” (

Kai and Kimberly Shappley travelled to New York City to attend the Emmys with the film’s director Daresha Kyi (Mama Bears), producers Lindsey Dryden (Unrest) and Shaleece Haas (Real Boy), executive producers Chase Strangio (ACLU) and Molly Kaplan (ACLU), editor Jamie Boyle (Jackson), director of photography Amy Bench (An Uncertain Future) and assistant producer Nora Wilkinson (ACLU).

They attended the News and Documentary Emmy® Awards ceremony at Lincoln Center

Kai, who the team behind the film believes is the first trans child ever to attend the News & Doc Emmy Awards, made an acceptance speech on-stage with the filmmaking team.

(For the record, Kai believes she was the best-dressed person at the awards, bar none.)

“We are overjoyed to win this award, in honor of our LGBTQ+ community, and especially our trans brothers and sisters,” Dryden said. “Our whole team is moved and inspired by the courage of parents like Kimberly who risk alienation and rejection to embrace their trans children, and by children like Kai, who lives every day with humor and authenticity and love in a world that tells her she shouldn’t be her true self.

“We want to say with our film and our presence at the Emmys that all trans people are valued, and trans people will not be erased,” Dryden added.

Daresha Kyi,  a Firelight Media Documentary Lab alumna, writes and directs film and television in Spanish and English. She is currently directing a feature documentary called Mama Bears about the ways in which the lives of conservative Christian mothers are transformed when they decide to accept their LGBT children.  Produced by the ACLU & Little By Little Films.

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