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Colorado Civil Rights Division rules in favor of transgender kid

June 24, 2013

By Victoria M. Rodríguez Roldán, Task Force Holley Law Fellow

The Civil Rights Division of Colorado has ruled in favor of Coy Mathis, a six year old transgender girl whose school, Eagleside Elementary banned her from using the girls’ restroom. She was initially allowed to use the correct restroom, until the school informed the parents that Coy would have to use the boys’ restroom or a gender-neutral staff lavatory.

The Division’s report stated that “Given the evolving research into the development of transgender persons, compartmentalizing a child as a boy or girl solely based on their visible anatomy is a simplistic approach to a difficult and complex issue”, and that “It also deprived her of the social interaction and bonding that commonly occurs in girls’ restrooms during these formative years, i.e., talking, sharing and laughter”.

This decision represents a victory not just for Mathis, but for all transgender children. 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. With another similar case pending before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court I hope that more and more transgender youth can have healthy and supported lives with less discrimination and obstacles than those faced by transgender adults like me.

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