Trans Girl Suspended From School For Using Female Restroom


Sixteen-year-old Dionne Malikowski, a transgender student at Colorado’s Fort Collins High School, was recently suspended for three days for using the girl’s restroom.

Dionne had been told by school administrators that, due to “safety concerns,” she may only use the staff restrooms but not the female bathroom facilities provided to the rest of the student body. Malikowski admits that she had been given a warning prior to her three-day suspension but says she finds the entire segregated bathroom issue unfair. The school maintains its position that it must consider “safety issues.”

From ABC 7 News:

The 16-year-old high school junior told 7NEWS she was suspended about a month ago for violating the school policy by using a girls’ restroom instead of a staff restroom.

“The day that I used the girls’ bathroom, I was in a hurry because I really had to go,” Dionne explained.

“All the students at Fort Collins High School have access to restrooms,” said Danielle Clark, spokeswoman for the Poudre School District.But there are rules about which restrooms Dionne can use — and she can only use the staff restrooms. “When those disruptions happen, it can cause safety issues to come into play,” Clark said.

“I don’t think I’m going to get harassed in the female bathroom. I think it would be more of a safety issue if I was using the male’s bathroom,” Dionne argued. Dionne previously received warnings for a similar violation but she believes that the rule was unfair and discriminating.”I want to be able to use the girls’ bathroom without being harassed for it or suspended or having charges pressed against me,” Dionne said.

A male trans student from the school has also spoken up about this issue saying that he too has been told he must use the staff bathrooms rather than the mens’ restrooms. LGBT rights groups have said that this position is unfair, and that it makes trans students out to be the problem when what the school should really be doing is focusing on tolerance and respect.

It has been offered however that the school is in fact trying to strike a balance between individual rights and school safety and that while district policy mandates that students be allowed equal access to bathrooms it could be said that, given the abundance of staff bathrooms, the school has in fact found a middle ground that satisfies all concerns.


PSD Board of Education President Nancy Tellez said that the use of staff bathrooms for transgender students falls under a district policy that states that all students should be provided equal educational opportunities regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or special needs.

“That’s the policy that comes into play in situations like this,” Tellez said. “Its intent is to provide equal opportunity to all students. It would seem to me that every student should have the opportunity to use the bathroom.”

Tellez said that she believes the requirement to use the staff bathrooms does provide an equal opportunity for transgender students, as seven staff bathrooms are spread throughout the school.

Others have argued, as Dionne has done, that this is not about access to the facilities itself but the climate the school is fostering by making trans students use staff bathrooms and therein marking them as different from the rest of the student body.

Again from

Claire Raccuglia, counseling and programming intern with the Lambda Community Center in Fort Collins, which promotes and supports diversity, said she is “unsure” of how the school can enforce a policy forcing students to use staff bathrooms.

“To enforce such a policy would be discriminatory,” Raccuglia said. “It’s important to have compassion for people’s ignorance, but at the same time, our schools are supposed be one of the safest places our children can learn and do things safely, like eat and use the bathroom.”

While many schools cite safety concerns as the foundations of bathroom-use policies, Raccuglia said that enforcing a policy that clearly distinguished students from their peers is far more dangerous.

“It’s a step backward to say it’s not safe, so they won’t integrate,” Raccuglia said. “If a student were getting beat up in the bathroom for having red hair, they wouldn’t ban red-haired kids from using a specific bathroom.”

Raccuglia goes on to recommend gender neutral bathrooms as a solution to this issue, though she recognizes that there is no perfect answer.

Dionne’s mother Melissa Malikowski has said she plans to transfer her daughter to Centennial High School because she doesn’t feel her daughter is safe at Fort Collins, citing that her daughter has received “grief” from other students. She feels that the school’s actions have reinforced bullying behavior by treating Dionne differently from other students, in effect making her daughter that much more of a target.

Related Reading:

Fresh Attack on CA FAIR Education Act Launched

Americans Get Trans Identity?

Gov. Official Amanda Simpson — LGBT History Month Day 27

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Keshet: GLBT inclusion in the Jewish Community.


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mary Hale
Mary Hale4 years ago

I know there is a lot of true transgenders out there, and feel sorry for them . girls bath rooms have stalls with doors,no problems there except a lot of the stright girls do not like them in there. Boy bathrooms not a good choice for girl transgenders, as they have a long stright area with no seperation for them to urinate, and a few stalls for the male students to have their B.M's. Girls just do not have the right equipment to use the boys bathrooms. The stright boys will not accept them. The bathroom situation is not a safe place for them and yes they will be bullyed, in both bathrooms. When I was a manager of a clothing store I had a boy come in, that started looking around. He had peaches and cream skin, long blond wavey hair very pritty. Started over to the dressing rooms. I went up to him and said in a low voice " I know you would like to try these things on, but you will scare my older people back there. If you would like to come in around 5 when I close I have paper work to do and things to change. you can come in and try on all you want to any time." He came in often and we became friends. He would have liked to have the surgery to make himself compleate but of course couldn't afford it. He had a very understanding mother and was well adjusted.Sometimes the genes just get mixed up, which is sad. There are some transgenders I just have a hard time even believing they are true trans. I would not want my daughter having to share a bathroom with them, nor my son's. Eac

pam w.
pam w6 years ago

Life is difficult enough for this young woman without forcing her to use the "staff" restroom! Sounds to me as if the school's trying to cover it's hindquarters with this "safety" nonsense! Unless they have a bunch of toilets, side-by-side without partitions and doors....NOBODY WILL SEE HER URINATING! Give her a chance to be normal, please!

(Besides...we women all know how much good "girl talk" goes on in bathrooms!) :-)

Sam P.
Sam P6 years ago

I say a transgender should be able to use the restroom without being harassed! That school is the worst! I would put in a bad word for that kind of action.

Annemarie Vidal
Anne-Marie Vidal6 years ago

This school is wack! I wonder what the academic scores are like if the administration is spending all its time worrying about who is using what bathroom.

Pradip Chavda
Pradip Chavda6 years ago

My what a controversy???? Let us now have 3 distinct rest rooms Male Female and Transgenders!!!!! But there will be again a problem Trans Males and trans females would have a tiff. So where is it going to end.
In fact, the world should be more tolerant for them as at a particular stage they are neither HERE nor THERE.

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

A trans girl id's herself as a girl. It doesn't matter what "parts", the brain is female. I don't understand what the problem is. So a girl wants to use the girl's restroom. Yet her parts aren't showing quite right.

I remember when I was pregnant. I had to use the toilet, BAD! The ladies room was not only farther, the line stretched past the men's room and around the corner. Well, here I was, 2.5 hours away from home, at a museum, and if I didn't go, I'd have went in my pants... So I went into the men's room, and announced "Pregnant woman on the floor". They were gentlmanly, and made sure I got to use it. I was told if I used the men's room again, that I'd be arrested for indecent conduct. Why, because nature called? Geesh. I think this country is immature about this issue.

Carolyn M.
Carolyn M6 years ago

"I simply don't want to share the john with them, and especially do not want my young nieces doing so with any creature with a Y chromosome"

Then why don't you and your niece use a different bathroom? If I have a problem with something, I remove myself from it. I do not expect everyone else to cater to my delicate sensibilities.

Carolyn M.
Carolyn M6 years ago

Christopher, women do pay child support. They don't always get the house. Some even pay alimony.

Nobody's drafted at this moment. And while women are on the front lines (mainly in support roles) Congress in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act required the defense and service secretaries to review policies “to determine whether changes are needed to ensure that female members have an equitable opportunity to compete and excel in the Armed Forces.” That report was due to Congress on April 15, but the Pentagon requested an extension through October. The DoD missed the October deadline as well, but they claim they are working on it.

Just thought you'd like to know

Christopher M.
Christopher M.6 years ago

Male privilege, female discrimination. Open your mind. Women are not drafted, do not serve in combat, and get privilege in child custody/support and alimony decisions, and keep the house.

Full blown gender equality would see women drafted into combat, and would see them pay child support to their own children whom they lost custody of. Those old ladies who protested the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s might have foreseen this.

Maybe we need that.