First-of-Its-Kind Decision Mandates Equal Treatment for Transgender Students
Source Transgender Legal Defense Fund: June 23, 2013 – Happy LGBT Pride Month! We are thrilled to announce that the Colorado Civil Rights Division has ruled in favor of six-year-old Coy Mathis, whose school had barred her from using the girls’ bathroom at her elementary school because she is transgender. This is the first ruling in the nation holding that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms that match who they are, and the most comprehensive ruling ever supporting the rights of transgender people to access bathrooms without harassment or discrimination.
NY Times: In a sharply worded ruling, the division concluded that the Fountain-Fort Carson school district needlessly created a situation in which the student, Coy Mathis, would be subject to harassment when it barred her from the girls’ bathroom even though she clearly identified as female.
Telling Coy “that she must disregard her identity while performing one of the most essential human functions constitutes severe and pervasive treatment, and creates an environment that is objectively and subjectively hostile, intimidating or offensive,” Steven Chavez, the division director, wrote in the decision.
But the state’s ruling went even further, saying that evolving research on transgender development showed that “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.”
Michael D. Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed the complaint on the Mathises’ behalf, hailed the decision as a momentous victory and hoped it would sway how other school districts treated transgender students.
“This is the first ruling in the nation that holds that transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms that match who they are,” he said. “There are thousands of families like the Mathises who are feeling relieved and vindicated that the commission ruled that Coy is a girl just like any other girl.”
A lawyer for the school district did not return requests for comment. The school district had argued it acted reasonably in the dispute, saying Coy was permitted to wear girls’ clothing to school and was referred to as female.
“When Coy was told we won, she got this giant smile and her eyes bugged out. She said, ‘So I can go to school and make friends?’ ”
This win is important in the legal context, but its even more so to Coy and her wonderful family. I had the honor of getting to know this wonderful family and thank god things turned out as they have.~ kelli Busey
Some history of this case found on planetransgender: