Hundreds of students marched out of a Hillsboro, Missouri high school Monday to protest the use of the girl’s restrooms by a transgender student.
Around 200 students at Hillsboro High School left the school for a two-hour protest because they believe that males should not use a girls’ bathroom or locker room at a public school.
Lila Perry, the student at the center of the controversy, was born male but instead identifies as a girl. Perry, now 17, has identified as transgender since the age of 13 and publicly came out as transgender last February according to an interview he did with St. Louis Fox affiliate KTVI.
Perry’s use of the girl’s restroom and locker room has left parents in the school district concerned. Derrick Good, a parent of two young women in the school district, told KTVI that his daughters “should have the ability to do whatever they need to do in the privacy of the bathroom without having a male in there.”
Jeff Childs, another parent of students in the school, agreed with Good that Perry’s use of the girl’s facilities is unacceptable.
“I feel these girls have a right to their own privacy,” Childs said. “Without the privacy they have nothing.” (RELATED: Colorado school board member now infamous for opposing transgender bathroom laws)
Student Sophie Beel found Perry’s use of the girl’s locker room and restroom “offensive” because Perry did not go through any procedure to become a female and “putting on a dress and putting on a wig is not transgender to me.”
Perry believes these claims are “pure and simple bigotry.”
Perry also compared his struggle to those of black Americans under Jim Crow laws by saying, “It wasn’t too long ago white people were saying, ‘I don’t feel comfortable sharing a bathroom with a black person,’ and history repeats itself.”
Some students stood up for Perry’s right to use the girl’s facilities, with student Hayley Reezes arguing that Perry has “human rights as everyone else.” (RELATED: Federal Court Rules Taxpayer-Funded College Can Bar WOMAN From Men’s Locker Room)
Monday night, Perry dropped the gym class out of fear for his safety, but it’s unclear if the protests played a direct role in his decision. He will continue to use the girl’s bathroom.
According to KTVI, a Hillsboro school district official has stated that the school works to promote tolerance and the district accepts all students regardless of gender or sexual orientation.