March 7, 2013
Elementary School Refuses to Speak, as Twenty Thousand Americans Stand Up for 6-year-old Transgender Girl
More than 20K asking school officials to let 6-year-old transgender girl Coy Mathis use the correct bathroom; School is refusing mediation in civil rights case
New York, NY – GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) today announced that Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, CO has rejected mediation in a civil rights case asking the school to allow 6 year-old transgender student Coy Mathis to use the girls' bathroom at her school.
In mid-December, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 told Coy's parents that the first grader would no longer be able to use the girls’ bathrooms. The District said Coy could only use the boys’ bathroom, a staff bathroom that is used only by adults, or the nurse’s bathroom, which is otherwise used by sick children.
"Coy is not sick, she is not an adult, and she is not a boy," said Coy's parents, Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis. "If the school separates her from all her classmates to use the bathroom, they are singling her out for mistreatment, and teaching her classmates that it's okay to discriminate. We are saddened that her school will not even come to the table to talk about this issue."
Kathryn and Jeremy launched a Change.org petition with GLAAD and TLDEF calling on the school to stop discriminating against their daughter. More than twenty thousand people have already spoken out in support of Coy.
"We are so thankful for this show of support for our daughter," said Kathryn and Jeremy.
"These signatures should show Coy's school that they are on the wrong side of this issue," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "All kids need to feel welcomed by their communities. Thankfully, thousands of Americans are sending Coy the right message, even as her school is still insisting on sending the wrong one."
By refusing mediation in the case, the school has denied the Mathis family a chance to speak with school officials to try to come to a resolution.
“Colorado law requires Coy’s school to let her use the girls’ bathroom, and we are shocked that her school will not even meet to talk about this so that Coy can quickly return to school,” said TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman. “Nothing should be more important to a school than ensuring that students can attend safely and without discrimination.”
TLDEF has filed a civil rights complaint against the school on behalf of the Mathis family, based on the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination against transgender students in public schools.
GLAAD and TLDEF have been working closely with the Mathis family to tell their story nationwide, to dispel some of the misinformation and stereotypes that can lead to harmful decisions like the one made by Coy's school.