The Colorado Civil Rights Division has ruled that six-year-old Coy Mathis is allowed to use the bathroom at her school. Coy is transgender, and her family sued her school in Fountain, Colorado after administrators told her she was not allowed to use the girls’ room, identifying her only by her genitalia, and not the way she identified and presented. The detailed decision rebuts this assertion, pointing out that the school (“Respondent”) drew too simplistic a conclusion about how Coy (“Charging Party)” identified:
The evidence demonstrates that on or about December 10, 2012 the Charging Party sought services from the Respondent in the form of access to the girls’ restroom while at school. Based on the undisputed facts, the Charging Party was not permitted to use the girls’ restroom. The Respondent asserts that the appropriate restroom for the Charging Party is the boys restroom or one of the single-user, gender-neutral restrooms based on the Charging Party’s perceived biological maleness as noted on her birth certificate. The Respondent perceives the Charging Party to be a boy based on her birth certificate because it suggest[s] that she does not possess the typical female genitalia associated with girls.
Sex assignment at birth, however, is merely a category that a child is placed in based on observable anatomy, and does not take into consideration the psychological and biological variations associated with the composition of each person. Given the evolving research into the development of transgender persons, compartmentalizing a child as a boy or a girl solely based on their visible anatomy is a simplistic approach to a difficult and complex issue. The Respondent, moreover, ignores federal and legal documents — more current than the Charging Party’s birth certificate — which undeniably state the Charging Party’s sex as female. The evidence, as such, is sufficient to demonstrate that the Charging Party is a girl and identifies as a girl.
This is an important victory — and precedent — for transgender youth, and their safety and inclusion at school. It is totally unreasonable to ask Coy to use a boys’ restroom or force her to use a separate staff bathroom merely because of the knowledge that she is transgender. As the decision goes on to say, “because the Charging Party’s appearance and mannerisms are wholly female, anyone observing the Charging Party walk into the boys’ restroom would see a girl entering a boys’ restroom.”
Coy’s parents had homsechooled her for the past year because of the school’s discrimination. According to the New York Times, when she learned of the decision, she smiled and asked, “So I can go to school and make friends?”