Colorado Issues Landmark Ruling for Transgender Rights

Everyone deserves to use the restroom appropriately. The Colorado Rights Division just made that official with a groundbreaking decision in favor of six-year-old transgender student Coy Mathis. Coy, who was born male but identifies as female, can now use the girls’ bathroom.

Fort Carson School District, located in a town south of the ultra conservative Colorado Springs, allowed Coy to wear girls’ clothes, stand in the girls’ line and play sports with the girls, and they had allowed her to use the girl’s bathroom at school. But after a few months of attending the school, the district banned the first grader from using the girls’ bathroom and asked her to use the boys’ or gender-neutral bathrooms instead. This humiliating order prompted Coy’s parents to opt for homeschooling.

The school district cited Coy’s birth certificate, on which she is identified as a boy, as grounds to deny her using the girls' bathroom. Coy's parents and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund consequently filed a complain with the division.

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The division found that Coy’s state-issued identification, passport, and recent medical records to prove that Coy is considered a girl and the school must comply.

The decision stated that “compartmentalizing a child as a boy or a girl based on visible anatomy, is a simplistic approach to a difficult and complex issue,” and that telling Coy “that she must disregard her identity while performing one of the most essential human functions constitutes severe and pervasive treatment, and creates an environment that is objectively and subjectively hostile, intimidating or offensive.”

Apparently this is the first ruling in the entire nation that allows transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. It will undoubtedly serve as a landmark case for families and communities determined to expand the rights of transgender people.

As for Coy, she is just excited to return to school. Although Fort Carson has to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that are appropriate to their gender identity in the future, the Mathises have moved to Aurora, CO. a town that is considerably more liberal compared to the Fort Carson District. Coy's mother reports: “when I told Coy we won, she got this giant smile and her eyes bugged out. She said, ‘So I can go to school and make friends?”

Rights Unit Finds Bias Against Transgender Student [New York Times]

Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP