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Watch This Texas Dad’s Impassioned Defense of His Transgender Son’s Rights

"Was I going to be his bully? Was I going to try to put him back in a box that fit the rules of my world at the time?"

As the state of Texas continues to debate the right for transgender men and women to use the bathroom of their choosing, one Texas father’s please on behalf of his 15-year-old transgender son Ashur has gained nationwide attention. The video contains Ken Ballard speaking honestly and openly about his relationship with his son, including the difficulty of learning to accept this new reality. Ultimately, Ken realized that “I would rather have my son be alive than bury my daughter.” So now, Ken is proudly standing up against bigotry and oppression and simply asking that his son is given the same treatment as everyone else.

In the video, which was recorded in January but recently reposted by Equality Texas, Ken also discusses finding Ashur’s suicide note, and how that made him realize his responsibilities as a father.”Was I going to be his bully? Was I going to try to put him back in a box that fit the rules of my world at the time? Or only end up losing that child altogether?,” he asks. Ken admits that he was tempted to try and force everything to “go back to the way it used to be” but knew that would be forcing his kid to live a lie. The 45-year-old father and his wife, Melissa, became more politically active to show support for their son, and eventually took their fight all the way to the Texas legislative session.

Texas is currently in a battle over a measure that would force people to use the bathroom based on their biological sex rather than gender. It failed to pass the regular legislative session, but it’s on the agenda of a special session that will begin July 18. Ken admits that in the past, he probably would not have noticed an issue like this. But thanks to his son, Ken has become one of the leading voices for equality in the state of Texas.