Coy Mathis Ruling: Transgender Student, 6, Allowed to Use Girls' Bathroom

Image: Coy Mathis Ruling: Transgender Student, 6, Allowed to Use Girls' Bathroom

Monday, 24 Jun 2013 03:08 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Coy Mathis, a 6-year-old transgender girl from Colorado, now has the right to use a girls' bathroom at her elementary school, a court ruled.

The decision, which was made by the Colorado Civil Rights Division and announced on Sunday, found that the Fountain-Fort Carson School District created an unnecessarily hostile situation for Coy Mathis by preventing her from using the girl’s bathroom, the Daily Mail reported.

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Born a male, Mathis has identified as a female since age four and has been recognized as a female on her passport and state-issued ID.

In December, Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colo., stopped allowing Mathis to use the girls' bathroom because she had male genitals. Instead, the school told her parents that she could either use the gender-neutral faculty restrooms or the nurse's bathroom if she did not want to use the boys' lavatory.

Prior to that, Mathis, who often wore dresses to school and was referred to as a girl by staff, used the girls' bathroom without having an issue.

The decision to stop allowing her access to the girls' bathrooms stemmed from a concern that as she "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," W Kelly Dude, the lawyer for Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, told CNN.

Mathis' parents Kathryn and Jeremy protested the rule change and eventually filed a complaint in February through the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. They also withdrew all five of their children from the elementary school in protest.

The Colorado Civil Rights Division's decision garnered praise from transgender rights advocates and Mathis’ family.

"Schools should not discriminate against their students, and we are thrilled that Coy can return to school and put this behind her," Kathryn Mathis said in a statement, according to the Denver Post. "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."

The New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which assisted the Mathis family in their complaint, held a press conference Monday afternoon on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol.

"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 the fund's Executive Director Michael Silverman. "It is a victory for Coy and a triumph for fairness."

Mathis, who had been home schooled since her parents removed her from the elementary school, will be attending a new school in Denver this fall, local station KDVR reported.

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Related stories:

Massachusetts Establishes Transgender Student Policies

School Creates Bathrooms for Transgender Students


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