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Six-year-old transgender girl ordered to use boys’ restrooms at school

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
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FOUNTAIN, Colo. — A transgender advocacy group on Tuesday announced it has filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who has been barred from using the girls’ restrooms at her elementary school.

According to the complaint filed by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), Coy Mathis, a first-grader at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colo., was labeled male at birth, but has always known that she is a girl, and has expressed this since she was 18 months old.

Coy Mathis
Family photo, courtesy Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund

Since kindergarten, Coy has worn girls’ clothing to school, and her classmates and teachers have used female pronouns to refer to her and she has used the girls’ bathrooms, just like any other girl in her school.

But since December, school officials have told Coy’s parents that she can no longer use the female facilities and ordered Coy to use the boys’ or nurse’s restroom.

Despite efforts to get the Fountain-Fort Carson School District to reconsider its decision, it has refused to do so, a decision the TLDEF sais violates the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination against transgender students in public schools.

Coy’s parents have since removed her from school and are home schooling her until the complaint is resolved.

“We want Coy to have the same educational opportunities as every other Colorado student,” said Kathryn Mathis, Coy’s mother. “Her school should not be singling her out for mistreatment just because she is transgender.”

“By forcing Coy to use a different bathroom than all the other girls, Coy’s school is targeting her for stigma, bullying and harassment,” said Michael Silverman, TLDEF’s executive director, and one of Coy’s lawyers.

“Through the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, Coloradans have made it clear that they want all Colorado children to have a fair and equal chance in school,” he added. “Coy’s school has the opportunity to turn this around and teach Coy’s classmates a valuable lesson about friendship, respect and basic fairness.”

A letter from the school’s lawyers said, “The district’s decision took into account not only Coy but other students in the building, their parents, and the future impact a boy with male genitals using a girls’ bathroom would have as Coy grew older.”

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