A transgender girl and her family are suing their local school district in Colorado over whether or not she has the right to use the girl’s bathroom.
6-year-old Coy Mathis was born a boy, but identifies as a girl and has been raised as such.
In kindergarten, Mathis was allowed to use the girl’s bathroom at Eagle Side Elementary School. However, the following school year, parents Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis were told that it was no longer appropriate.
“We were told that there were no written policies and that the options would be for Coy to use the boys’ restroom or the staff bathroom or the nurse’s bathroom for the sick children, which were both on the opposite end of the building,” Mr. Mathis told CNN’s “Starting Point” on Thursday. He said that “would stigmatize her, having to be the only one having to go to a different bathroom, so we weren’t OK with that.”
The girl’s family contacted the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund to work out a solution with the district. When an agreement could not be reached, the organization filed a civil suit on February 16, claiming the school is in violation of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.
Michael Silverman, the Mathis’ lawyer, told 429Magazine, “We get many calls from parents of transgender children who are experiencing harassment and discrimination, including not having access to bathrooms.”
In December, Eagle Side Elementary sent a letter to the girl’s parents arguing that it was taking other children into consideration in deciding that Coy could not use the girl’s bathroom.
“I’m certain you can appreciate that as Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls’ restroom,” the letter read.
Silverman added that he is “not aware of any complaints about Coy.”
Kathryn Mathis rejects the district’s explanation.
“The immediate problem with that is we’re not in middle school yet, we’re not in high school yet,” she said on CNN. “And they’re punishing a 6-year-old for something that hasn’t happened and may not happen.”
Silverman adds, “Coy is a girl, since her earliest ability to express herself to the world. And it’s obvious to anyone who meets her that she is a little girl.”
The case is still unfolding and the school district has 30 days to respond to the Mathis’ complaint from its submission on February 16.
The school district could not be reached for comment.