An elementary school in Colorado recently required that one of its students, Coy Mathis, 6, who identifies as a girl, use a different bathroom than the female students at the school.
Coy is currently a first-grade student at the Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colorado. Coy was born an anatomical male. Coy identifies as a girl, however, and her family has been raising her as a girl, despite her male anatomy.
As a kindergarten student, Coy was allowed to use the girl’s bathroom without incident or issue. This year, however, her school is forcing her to use either the boy’s bathroom, the staff bathroom or the nurse’s bathroom, which are at the opposite end of the building.
Coy and her parents, Jeremy and Kathryn Mathis, were called into the principal’s office to discuss the policies regarding bathroom use. The principal stated that Coy would have to use a separate bathroom.
Fearing that their child would be stigmatized and ostracized for having to be the only student to use a different bathroom, Coy’s parents contacted the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund for possible mediation of the problem. When that step bore no results, the family filed a state civil rights complaint against the school.
School representatives maintain that the school’s concern is for the best interests of all students in an admittedly delicate situation. Their main concern is permitting a physical male, with male genitalia, to use a girl’s bathroom, and the potential issues that could arise as students physically develop.
Under Colorado law, schools are not allowed to discriminate based on transgender status. The state law is not explicit, however, with respect to whether a transgender person must be allowed to use a bathroom for people of the gender with which that individual identifies.
Coy is being homeschooled during the pendency of this legal action.
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