The Baby-Sitters Club is being praised for casting a trans child in a trans role

13 July 2020, 17:12

Netflix drops trailer for Babysitter's Club

Sophie Thompson

By Sophie Thompson

Nine-year-old Kai Shappley has a recurring guest role in Netflix's Baby-Sitter's Club - and the platform is being praised for casting the transgender youngster in the role as her character discovers their own gender identity.

Netflix's revival of The Baby-Sitters Club has stolen everyone's hearts - not only because it has a positive, educational LGBTQ+ storyline involving a child discovering their gender identity - but they also cast someone who is actually transgender in the role. Take notes, Hollywood!

Nine year-old Kai Shappley plays Bailey, who opens up to her babysitter MaryAnne that she is a girl.

When confiding in her friend Dawn about how to handle the situation, Dawn explains it perfectly: "It’s like this: Are you right-handed or left-handed?" When MaryAnne answers that she is right-handed, Dawn continues, "And if someone tried to make you do everything with your left hand, it would be super-weird right? Well, that’s how Bailey feels. The same way that you know that you’re right-handed, Bailey knows she’s a girl. We all want our outsides to match our insides."

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Kai Shappley plays the role of transgender child, Bailey.
Kai Shappley plays the role of transgender child, Bailey. Picture: Netflix

The show currently scores a remarkable 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and off the back of some not-so-friendly comments from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, viewers are finding The Baby-Sitters Club to be a breath of fresh air.

As well as humanising the important conversations about topics such as gender identity, the show also touches on internment camps, income inequality, protests and communism - a more modern-day, grown-up take on the original books we know and love.

But it hasn't come without its set backs. Kai, who dealt with her own gender identity confusion at a young age, has previously had to lobby just to be able to use the girls bathrooms at school. When the family were unsuccessful, they were forced to move to an entirely different district to allow Kai to express herself more freely.

Her mum, Kimberly Shappley, shared, “Kai has a teenie-tiny part in a guest starring role in #BabySittersClubNetflix but it’s creating a huge impact. Obviously people want more of this! Trans people playing trans roles!”

She's also hinted that more roles are on the way for the youngster, but Kai herself has admitted that although acting comes naturally, she'd like to be an astrophysicist. Oh to have everything worked out at nine years old.

We're going to need you in season 2 first, at least.

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