The Paw Print
For as long as she could express her own opinions, transgendered 10-year-old Coy Mathis has identified as a girl. This was not a hassle for Mathis at all until last December, when Colorado school officials told her that she would not be allowed to use the girl’s restroom anymore.
School officials say that teachers and even other students were beginning to feel uncomfortable with Mathis using the girl’s restroom, and that a problem was developing. Mathis’s mother, Kathryn Mathis received a call “out of the blue” telling her that her daughter was not allowed to use the girl’s restroom. The Mathis family, as well as a prominent transgendered rights group, are fighting back.
Not only is it Mathis’s desire to identify as a girl, her state-issued ID and passport recognize her as being female. Kelly Dude, a school district attorney for Colorado, has said Colorado has nothing requiring public schools to allow Mathis to use the girl’s restroom. It is their own decision, and they have rights to decide what they want to do.
The Fountain-Fort Carson School District adheres to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, in all respect, however. Mathis is allowed to attend class like other students, wear girl’s clothes, and is referred to by the gender the parents requested. By refusing to allow Mathis to use the bathroom, they are not violating anything.
When the story went public, Mathis’s mother was worried of the comments and tone of the reactions that would come out, and the consequences that her daughter would face because of it. Kathryn Mathis was very shocked to hear that the public felt overwhelming sympathy for her daughter, and that most of the negative comments were directed to her, not Coy.
“A lot of the public feel that the pressure to identify as female so strongly comes from the parent’s choice,” says Dude. “They are shaming Kathryn over the lawsuit, saying that she should not be subjecting her daughter to this kind of fame.”
Transgender children are not intersex, meaning they do not have a physical disorder or malformation of their sexual organs. The gender issue exists in the brain, and it has been highly debated whether or not the choice is psychological or physiological. Those bashing Kathryn Mathis say that she is influencing her daughter to identify as female for nothing more than her “fifteen minutes of fame”. They insist that if Coy was not allowed to dye her hair pink and forced into girl’s clothes, Coy would not be having these problems.
However, Kathryn Mathis believes ignorance starts with those blaming her. She says that her daughter’s choice was Coy’s, and Coy’s alone.
“If this wasn’t what my daughter wanted, I wouldn’t be pushing so hard to make her school experience fair,” she argues. “It is Coy’s choice to identify as a girl, and no one can take that choice away from her. Anyone that tries to will answer to me.”
At the moment, there is not a court date set for the lawsuit, and Coy has been pulled out of school until further notice. Her case will be one of the first to be reviewed in this subject area. For now, Coy and her mother will gladly wait out the negative comments and others who wish to hold Coy back from her happiness.
“If dealing with all of this is what it will take to make Coy happy,” Kathryn says, “then so be it.