In the picture at the right, it is probably impossible to tell who Coy Mathis is. In this photo provided by GLAAD, there appears to be two little girls and a little boy. Coy, who is on the right, is trans*, and very lucky as today the Colorado Civil Rights Division announced along side the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund that she has the right to use the girls’ bathroom at her elementary school.
Access to bathrooms is one of the biggest sticking points in trans*rights. Despite the fact that most trans*women are attracted to men, the fear mongering usually centers around ideas of men wearing women’s clothes to peak at women using the bathroom. Most of it is downright hogwash since there never seem to be actual reports of incidents of men wearing women’s clothing to peek at women using the toilet.
Coy’s mother Kathryn Mathis stated “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.”
TLDEF’s executive director Michael Silverman said “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.”
GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz added “The impact of this ruling should not be limited to Colorado. No child, no matter where they live, should have their identity denied by their school. And no family in America should have to go to court to convince educators to treat their child with respect.”
The Colorado Civil Rights Division wrote that Coy’s school and the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 had treated Coy in a manner that was hostile, intimidating and offensive.
GLAAD explains that:
Coy was labeled male at birth, but has always known that she is a girl, which she has expressed since she was 18 months old. Since kindergarten, Coy had worn girls’ clothing to school. Her classmates and teachers used female pronouns to refer to her, and she used the girls’ bathrooms, just like any other girl in her school.
In mid-December 2012, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 informed Coy’s parents that Coy would be prevented from using the girls’ bathrooms after winter break. The District ordered Coy to use the boys’ bathroom, a staff bathroom, or the nurse’s bathroom.
The school district refused to reverse their decision on Coy, and so Coy’s parents removed her from school and filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on her behalf.
((Notation: Given the discord and chaos surrounding the use of the terms transsexual and transgender, I have taken to using ‘trans*’ in order to indicate either/or when there is no firm indication of which the person in the article prefers.))