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Transgender First Grader Wins Right To Use Girls’ Restroom

Transgender First Grader Wins Right To Use Girls’ Restroom

Six-year-old Coy Mathis was born a boy, but has identified as a girl since she was 18 months old.

That wasn’t good enough for Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colorado, which last December insisted that Coy had to use the boys’ restroom, even though she had been using the girls’ bathroom until then, and clearly identifies as a girl.

Her outraged parents immediately pulled her out of school, and last February they filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) on her behalf.

Now, in a first-of-its-kind ruling in the U.S., the CCRD has sided with Coy’s parents, agreeing that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms that match the gender they identify with.

It’s a major victory for transgender Americans, but it’s also depressing that it took a court case to reach such an obvious conclusion.

According to NBC News, CCRD director Steven Chavez criticized administrators with the Fountain-Fort Carson School District, accusing them of creating “an environment rife with harassment” when they chose to refer to Coy as a boy. By doing this, the school district broke a prior agreement with Coy’s parents to use her preferred gender identification.

In another first in victories for those who are transgender, Multnomah County, which includes Portland, has just become one of the first in the country to require gender-neutral, single-occupancy restrooms in all future construction projects. The executive order was signed on June 18 by county board chair Jeff Cogen.

Naturally, Focus on the Family thinks the idea of even mentioning transgender people using bathrooms is a bad idea. In response to a bill currently moving through the Delaware legislature that would add gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination and hate crime laws, Focus on the Family slams what it calls the “bathroom bill.” In doing so it refers to the “biological male,” apparently totally missing the point in terms of transgender individuals.

If you ask Coy Mathis to talk about herself, she will tell you she is a girl. Trans women are women: not only do they identify as female, but they are perceived as women as well. The same goes for men: there are plenty of trans men who are seen only as men by the people who know them.

The issue will surely come up again in the world of education, and Massachusetts has already taken the lead on this. An eleven-page document issued earlier this year carefully details how schools are to handle the needs of transgender students and provides definitions and background information for school officials who might not be familiar with transgender issues.

From the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund:

“Schools should not discriminate against their students, and we are thrilled that Coy can return to school and put this behind her,” said Kathryn Mathis, Coy’s mother. “All we ever wanted was for Coy’s school to treat her the same as other little girls. We are extremely happy that she now will be treated equally.”

“This ruling sends a loud and clear message that transgender students may not be targeted for discrimination and that they must be treated equally in school,” said TLDEF’s executive director Michael Silverman. “It is a victory for Coy and a triumph for fairness.”

According to TLDEF, 17 states and the District of Columbia offer some sort of legal protection for transgender people. Let’s hope that number keeps increasing.

And best wishes to Coy for a great year as a second-grader.

 

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Photo Credit: KUSA TV online video

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122 comments

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3:31PM PDT on Jul 7, 2013

I'm very happy for her.

4:06AM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

I don't think a child understands this issue. The parents are pushing this. This poor child to bin the middle of this is really hurting their self-image.

12:09AM PDT on Jul 1, 2013

Equality for all, no matter how small

4:16PM PDT on Jun 30, 2013

Jessica L - I so want to say something horribly obnoxious to you in response to your for your highly prejudiced, ignorant comment, but I'm going to refrain.

Ayenis R. - no comment. Not even going to entertain your very biased opinion.

Bob, Jenn, Kelly - Same thing. Go get a college education.

4:04PM PDT on Jun 30, 2013

Cat C. - gender identity & sexual orientation are two entirely separate things. People often confuse the two. A child may very well know his/her gender identity at an early age, but sexual orientation tends to come later (although not always). Please, do some research, take a class, or meet some people who identify in these ways before you comment on such matters. To force a gender on a child could be traumatizing and completely invalidating.

11:03PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

Cat C - This child's community demands the "transgender" label and diagnosis as evidence of her entitlement to use the toilet she feels secure in using. It's the school that forced this issue. The child's parents are far too balanced to pin any kind of label on their child.

BMutiny T. - you may be interested to look at Starseeds traits, characteristics, etc. :)

9:16PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

The child must be able to decide, with the parents, the school must take a back seat and refrain itself from any commentary!

5:00PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

continued,

Get OVER the SHAME and the EMOTION, and start looking at these things OBJECTIVELY - and you will EXPLODE ALL YOUR OLD IDEAS and actually LEARN SOMETHING THAT WILL ENHANCE YOUR LIFE, in the long run!

Yes, you WILL find that, scientifically and objectively, it IS possible for a tiny toddler to identify themselves as a boy or a girl; and that can be independent of their genital confirmation. This is AN INTERNAL THING AND NOT BASED ON THE CHILD'S EXPERIENCE OF THE WORLD. Consider that as a possibility, for just a moment, if the idea is entirely new to you. Without all the {unnecessary} freight of emotion that sexual matters bring, a whole new world of cognitive Reality could open up for you...

4:55PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

Here I try to deal with people's {mistaken} ideas that "what gender you identify with" is a CHOICE, like choosing to be a Doctor or a Lawyer or a Housewife or a Househusband or a Farmer or whatever.
Being adolescent just only CONFIRMS what one ALREADY feels. These are very DEEP feelings. Probably most of the people writing here, have never asked themselves, Am I a boy or a girl, a male or a female? You just KNOW. It just IS SO.
I have asked myself, as young as I can remember {my parents record it at the age of six}: Why am I "different"? and later on, Why don't I feel like a "female" is supposed to feel? but, I don't feel like a "male", either!
So it ISN'T just "liking girls' or boys' clothes", or girls' or boys' activities, or long or short hair - these may or may not be expressions of the feeling. The feeling GOES DEEPER THAN THAT. I was forced to wear skirts, for example, because in my days, girls weren't allowed to go to school in pants. But nobody could "force" me to play with dolls. But I avoided boys and didn't like them. I felt, deep down inside, that I was "neither" a boy or a girl. But I didn't have words for it - until I started studying Anthropology and different cultures!
Get OVER the SHAME and the EMOTION, and start looking at these things OBJECTIVELY - and you will EXPLODE ALL YOUR OLD IDEAS and actually LEARN SOMETHING THAT WILL ENHANCE YOUR LIFE, in the long run!
Yes, you WILL find that, scientifically and objectively, it IS possible for a tiny toddler t

4:35PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

wow its a damn bathroom! when you gotta go who cares who is in the next stall...when you've REALLY gotta go the side of the road is just fine no matter your gender. all this hubbub about a toilet, use whatever bathroom feels right&dont make a fuss. ive never had an issue w/mixed gender bathrooms. let coy go in the ladies room, this did not need to go to court

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