Six-year-old Coy Mathis was born male, and thus presumably has all the appendages males tend to have. The difference is that Mathis wears girls’ clothes all the time. Also, teachers and administrators at Mathis’ elementary school use female pronouns when addressing the child.
Over the course of the past year, the first-grader had also used the girls’ bathroom at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colorado near Colorado Springs, reports ABC affiliate KMGH.
In December, however, the school banned Mathis from using the girls’ bathroom. Since winter break, the new policy has been for Mathis to use either the boys’ bathroom, a teacher’s lounge bathroom or the nurse’s bathroom.
In response, reports NBC affiliate KOAA, the Mathis family filed a civil rights complaint against the Fountain-Fort Carson School District with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. There was a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“By forcing Coy to use a different bathroom than all the other girls, Coy’s school is targeting her for stigma, bullying and harassment,” attorney Michael Silverman said, according to KMGH.
In addition to representing Mathis, Silverman also serves as the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, an organization based in New York City.
“She’s already beginning to experience the kind of discrimination that we’re working to stop,” Silverman added, according to KOAA. “We want her to be treated like every other girl at school.”
Kathryn Mathis, the child’s mother, said the new policy creates an unnecessary stigma.
“You see a little girl walk into the boys’ bathroom, that’s setting her up in an unsafe situation,” she said, according to KMGH. “You see her having to walk quite a ways from her classroom to the adult staff bathrooms or the nurse’s restroom, and you’re singling her out when you do that.”
Reporting about this story has been heroically one-sided in favor of the Mathis family. Part of that bias is certainly due to the fact that the Mathis family has been on a P.R.-blitz, while the Fountain-Fort Carson School District hasn’t had much to say in the media beyond a terse general statement.