One Equal World

Colorado Civil Rights Decision Creates Momentum for Transgender Struggles

Posted on: July 11, 2013

Coy Mathis GLAAD

Coy Mathis’ family attends the 2013 GLAAD awards.
lev radin /

Colorado is in the news again for a progressive decision that legally allows Coy Mathis and other transgender children to use the restroom that they identify with in schools.

Coy Mathis is the six-year-old transgender girl who has been making headlines recently as her family fought for her right to be accepted as a girl in school, and to use female-designated restrooms. She had been reportedly experiencing a smooth transition in her first grade classroom; her teacher, peers, and friends used female pronouns and treated her as she outwardly identified. However, when school administration informed the family that Coy would no longer be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom when students returned from winter break, the family saw this injustice towards their daughter as a need for action. Coy’s parents filed a complaint through the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund immediately, which ultimately helped them earn a fair outcome for the first-grader and other transgender children.

A decision made by the Colorado Rights Division determined that Fountain-Fort Carson School District had created an “unnecessarily hostile situation” for Coy by not permitting her to use the female restroom, Daily Mail UK reports. The family was afraid that the school district’s original decision would stigmatize and alienate Coy, calling attention to her and causing embarrassment and anxiety for

gender neutral bathroom

6-Year-Old Coy Mathis helped make it possible for all transgender children in CO to use the restroom they identify with in schools.
Image: Shutterstock

her whenever she needed to use a restroom during school. The school was needlessly shining a spotlight on the six-year-old, sexualizing her and forcing a very private and personal daily routine into the focus of the entire school. Up until this point, Coy and her family had received great amounts of support in her transition; it is disappointing that the school’s administration couldn’t follow the lead of its progressive teachers and students.

The case of Coy Mathis sheds visibility on everyday issues surrounding transgender individuals in public spaces, such as our schools. In the wake of recent legal victories for the gay rights movement, perhaps this development in transgender issues will allow for momentum in the ongoing struggles of the transgender community at large.


1 Response to "Colorado Civil Rights Decision Creates Momentum for Transgender Struggles"

[…] To the jubilation of many, the Mathis family eventually won their case when Director Steven Chavez of the Colorado Civil Rights Division reviewed the discrimination complaint. Chavez wrote, “Telling [Coy] that she must disregard her identity while performing one of the most essential human functions… creates an environment that is so objectively and subjectively hostile.” And he is absolutely right. The Mathis family’s victory has fueled momentum for addressing transgender struggles. […]

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