Girls' restroom

A Colorado family celebrates a huge win this week for their transgender first-grader, who has won the right to use the girls' restroom at her school. What message does this send to kids sharing the school yard with transgender children?

Coy Mathis' anti-discrimination case

Coy Mathis, who was born a boy but identifies as a girl, had been banned from using the girls' restroom at Eagleside Elementary School by the Fountain-Fort Carson School District back in December — but now that has all changed.

Banned from the bathroom

In December 2012, Coy's parents received a call that the girl would be permitted to use the boys' restrooms, gender-neutral faculty facilities or the nurses lavatory, but was banned going forward from using the girls' bathrooms. A letter to Coy's parents stated that the decision takes other students' comfort level into account, especially as the first-grader gets older and her body begins to develop.

So, earlier this year, Coy's parents filed a complaint against the district with a Colorado civil rights agency under the state's anti-discrimination laws, challenging the district's restriction on the student's bathroom use. And, while the Mathis family win has been met with much support, not all parents share the same sentiment. Worries of "peeping Toms" or lack of supervision in the bathrooms, as well as locker room use, have some parents on the fence.

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What transgender really means

The American Psychological Association defines transgender as someone who does not identify with the sex to which they were assigned at birth — a struggle that exists in the person's brain, not because of any physical malformations of their sexual organs. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association removed "gender identity disorder" from its list of mental health conditions just this last year. Yet, the lack of studies on transgender children still leave many people to confuse gender identity with sexual orientation, sadly leading to harassment and adverse reaction towards transgender people, even in schools.

A safe and supportive school environment

In today's culture, the anti-bullying movement in schools focuses on tolerance of students in all of their unique forms, so shouldn't transgender children find acceptance under the same sentiment? Yet, in a survey released in June 2013 by The Williams Institute, 10 percent of respondents who attended school in Washington, D.C. confessed that issues related to restroom access had a negative impact on their education due to excessive absences and eventually dropping out of school.

"Transgender children are normal children that deserve the right to express themselves."

"I am a mother and I feel that that's where the bullying begins," says Michelle Turner Manigo. "When we teach children it matters what someone does instead of focusing on what matters... isn't this about school?"

But, it's not only Colorado schools making it clear on which side of the transgender issue fence they stand. The Massachusetts Board of Education has released a document that helps foster a safe and supportive school environment within elementary and secondary schools, as new state laws prohibiting gender identity discrimination are put into effect this year. "I feel like as a country we've regressed back to segregation verses integration in our schools," says Teana, The InStyle Diva. "Transgender children are normal children that deserve the right to express themselves. If the parents are concerned then they can remove their child from the class or even better — the school."

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"I was so relieved to see the ruling in Coy's favor. I just can't see how anyone would consider it a hardship or problem for other students if she uses the girls' restroom," shares Maria Mora. "It bothered me immensely that the school board insisted on calling her a boy in public statements. This just perpetuates the notion that we're talking about a boy who wears dresses and not a child who identifies 100 percent as a female and desperately seeks to be treated as such."

And, that's why the fact that this Colorado school's transgender first-grader was given girls' restroom rights is such a huge step in the right direction — towards tolerance and acceptance.

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Tags: gender

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Comments on "Transgender first-grader given girls' restroom rights"

Bob July 01, 2013 | 7:02 AM

Whether I agree with this or not, which I do not, this is not the correct solution. If you want to have a society where gender and ual orientation do not matter the proper way to address it is to have uni restrooms. Segregation is occurring everywhere that boys and girls have separate restrooms. It would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year if we stopped building separate restrooms and taught children that gender and ual orientation do not matter. Talk to some teenagers and find out what is really going on. This really isn't an issue. My children are afraid to use the restroom at school because there is usually at least one couple in a stall having . Society has already changed the purpose of marriage from love to lust (check the divorce rate if you don't believe me). Issues like this are just a formality to change what is written on paper as a rule to match what is happening in real life.

Ash June 30, 2013 | 2:44 PM

America is taking little steps. I am glad there are steps at all. Sometimes the ignorance is too thick. People are people. Love is love. We all deserve human rights. Hopefully all of the LGBTIQ will be able to benefit in this country like everyone else. But jeez! Sometimes I just wanna move to Canada. They are more open there. marriage has been legal for a while, there are less Christians, and more people open to the religious views of others. America has so much ignorance. I can make so many comparisons to discrimination of those for fit the LGBTIQ criteria, and discrimination of black folks in the 60s (Of course discrimination against blacks is still prominent here in the US.) In the future, everyone is going to look in their textbook like: "Oh my god. People were so stupid. Why did it take so long for all these rights to be allowed. They are just like you and me!".

JB June 29, 2013 | 2:30 PM

Just another step toward the Homoual Agenda of ualizing children.

LT June 28, 2013 | 9:14 AM

Heath, I so agree with you. I fully support every person's right to be who they are but when that becomes an invasion then the line needs to be drawn.

Maria June 26, 2013 | 1:06 PM

Michelle, thank you for sharing this story. Kids like Coy need voices of compassion and acceptance in the face of ignorance and hatred.

Heath Smith June 25, 2013 | 7:07 PM

This is the dumbest thing I have ever read in my life and makes me sad to be an American. You 10% which was the number of concerned people in this article, what gives you the right to force my child to go to the rest room with your confused child, which by the way is your fault for supporting something which should never have even been considered. No wonder your child is confused if you are fighting for the right for them to use a opposite gender restroom. What about my child's rights? Why does the 90% always yield to the 10%? If you confused people continue to push your agenda you will get exactly what you want, a perverse generation with no morals. If this makes you angry good, because it makes me angry. By the way if you think this is something new you have discovered "gender identity disorder" read about Sodom and Gomorrah, you know that book of out dated silly ideas. You don't even see animals acting like this, guess that disproves evolution.

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