Six-year-old Coy Mathis has been barred from using the girls’ bathrooms at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, CO because she is transgender. The district ordered her to use the boys’ bathrooms, a staff bathroom, or the nurse’s bathroom instead. The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) has filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division because Colorado prohibits discrimination against transgender students in public schools.
“We just want Coy to have the same opportunities as all of the other children,” Kathryn Mathis told Katie Couric (watch below). “By them putting her in a situation where she’s the only one using the bathrooms, they are setting her up for harassment and bullying and that is not a healthy situation for her and the school is really missing out on something big. They could be taking the opportunity to teach all of the students that everybody is different and that we should embrace our differences and we should respect everybody. Instead they are creating this divided environment where they’re showing all these children that child is different and we’re going to treat them poorly because of it.”
Coy’s parents are home schooling her until the complaint is resolved.
“We want Coy to have the same educational opportunities as every other Colorado student,” said Kathryn Mathis, Coy’s mother. “Her school should not be singling her out for mistreatment just because she is transgender.”
“By forcing Coy to use a different bathroom than all the other girls, Coy’s school is targeting her for stigma, bullying and harassment,” said Michael Silverman, TLDEF’s executive director, and one of Coy’s lawyers. “Through the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, Coloradans have made it clear that they want all Colorado children to have a fair and equal chance in school,” he added. “Coy’s school has the opportunity to turn this around and teach Coy’s classmates a valuable lesson about friendship, respect and basic fairness.”
“We have five children and we love them all very much,” said Mrs. Mathis. “We want Coy to return to school to be with her teachers, her friends, and her siblings, but we are afraid to send her back until we know that the school is going to treat her fairly. She is still just six years old, and we do not want one of our daughter’s earliest experiences to be our community telling her she’s not good enough.”
In addition to TLDEF, the legal team representing the Mathis family includes Michael Flynn, Lucy Deakins, Jami Mills Vibbert, and Rosario Doriott Dominguez of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
The petition started by Coy’s parents calling on her school to stop discriminating has almost reached 30,000 signatures. Sign here.