Transgender 6-year-old Coy Mathis won the right to use the girls’ restroom at her elementary school in Fountain, Colorado, after the school banned her from doing so.
Biologically, Coy Mathis was born a boy. But since she was 18 months old, Coy began to show signs of identifying as a girl. She gravitated toward feminine clothing and toys usually associated with girls, and she would also refuse to leave the house dressed as a boy. Her family and friends all supported her as transgender. According to The New York Times, after consulting with doctors, Coy’s parents informed the school that she identified as a girl and should be treated as one. For over a year, she attended Eagleside Elementary as a girl with the teachers’ and staff’s support. Coy’s passport and state-issued identification also recognize her as female.
In December 2012, Coy’s parents received a phone call “out of the blue,” they said, from Eagleside Elementary School. The school explained that after winter break, Coy would no longer be allowed to use the girls’ restroom. She would be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom, gender-neutral faculty bathrooms, or the nurse’s bathroom — but not the girls’ facilities.
3. A letter from the lawyer representing the Fountain-Fort Carson school district explained:
“… as Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls’ restroom.”
4. Coy’s parents, Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, filed a complaint against Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 with the Colorado Civil Rights Division in February.
Coy and her siblings were pulled out of school for homeschooling while the case progressed. The Mathises stated they would not return them to school until Coy was allowed to use the girls’ bathroom again.
5. On Sunday, the Colorado Civil Rights Division decided to rule in the Mathises’ favor.
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, a New York-based nonprofit, handled the Mathis’ civil rights complaint.
6. Steven Chavez, the division director, wrote in the decision that by not allowing Coy to use the girls’ restroom, Eagleside Elementary School “creates an environment rife with harassment.”
7. Kathryn Mathis stated after the ruling:
Schools should not discriminate against their students, and we are thrilled that Coy can return to school and put this behind her. 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.
8. Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), said of the ruling:
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.It is a victory for Coy and a triumph for fairness.