My first exposure to a transgender person was in high school. I was in 9th grade and Danielle was in 11th. Although from outwards appearances you’d assume Danielle was a girl, in all actuality, she was born a boy. I can’t recall any harassment  that she encountered, but I do recall during our mandatory swimming classes, she was allowed to change in a separate locker room from both the girls and boys. No one thought twice about it, back then.

Kathryn Mathis and her husband, of Colorado,  are the parents of 6-year-old  Coy. According to Coy’s parents, although Coy was born with male sex organs, their child has always identified as a girl. Up until recently their child was treated as a normal first grader, but was alarmed when they were notified that she could no longer use the girl’s restroom, but had the option to use the boy’s restroom or the gender-neutral nurse’s office restroom.

“We were very confused because everything was going so well, and they had been so accepting, and all of a sudden it changed and it was very confusing and very upsetting because we knew that, by doing that, she was going to go back to being unhappy,” she told CNN. “It was going to set her up for a lot of bad things.”

According to the Fountain-Fort Carson School District, it was done as a precautionary measure, and had to worry about the total student body, not just Coy. “We took into account not only Coy, but other students in the building, their parents and the future impact a boy with male genitals using a girls’ bathroom would have as Coy grew older,” the school district’s attorney, W. Kelly Dude, told CNN Tuesday.

“However, I’m certain you can appreciate that, as Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls’ restroom.”

In a statement, he added, “The district firmly believes it has acted reasonably and fairly with respect to this issue. However, the district believes the appropriate and proper forum for discussing the issues identified in the charge is through the Division of Civil Rights process. The district is preparing a response to the charge which it will submit to the division. Therefore, the district will not comment further on this matter out of respect for the process which the parents have initiated.”

In Colorado, there’s nothing in the state law that requires bathroom preference based on the gender you identify with. The attorney for the school district clarified that they are in full compliance with the  Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.

In addition to the discrimination suit being filed, the Mathis’ have removed Coy from the school. “In the end, we just want what is the best for Coy,” Mathis said. “We want her to be able to go back to school and be treated equally without discrimination and harassment.”

Do you think Coy should be allowed to use the girls bathroom?


  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    Even though the child identifies as a girl, Coy is still a boy with male genitalia.
    A gender neutral bathroom would be appropriate in this case IMO.

  • kathleen

    but what is the concern? that some sexual activity will take place b/c she has male gentalia? if so, do they seperate the children that identify themselves as lesbian or gay? dont they have private individual stalls that will prevent any other child from seeing the gentalia in question? i dont understand where the concern is really coming from. if its being exposed to a transgender individual then this will not be the first or the last time these children will have to grapple w/ these issues.

  • victoria

    If he has male genitals then he should use the men’s locker and restrooms.

    I think Coy’s parents are teaching him that his rights come before others. His parents should not expect young girls to have to be exposed to male genitals. Im sure Coy’s father wouldn’t want his wife to see male genitals if she uses the locker rooms at her gym or at a public swimming pool. So why should other parents have their kids subjected to that.

  • victoria

    I believe the concern comes from having young girls exposed to males genitals. As an adult woman, I dont want to be exposed to male genitals when I use a public restroom. I certainly dont want my children to have to see such a thing. And if you think this wont happen, google washington state girls locker room transgender. You will find several article about a grown transgender who uses a girls locker room without clothing. Although, young girls have seen him unclothed on several occassions, he refuses to cloth himself b/c it is his right to use the girls locker room.
    A neutral room will better suit everyone, I believe.

  • momo

    Coy is a girl, so she should be allowed to use the girl’s restroom. I know when I go to the bathroom I never see any other girl’s genitals ( or any other part of her body that isn’t clothed). What exactly are people afraid will happen if she is allowed to go to the bathroom? Because it sounds to me like the school and a few of the readers are being transphobic assholes. Stop saying that she is a boy and referring to her with male pronouns. Stop suggesting that because she is transgender she will endanger the other girls. The other children will most definitely come into contact with other transgendered people, so the school should not teach them to be fearful of them.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Coy is a boy no matter how much he wants to be a girl.

  • victoria

    Dear Momo,

    Listen, this has nothing to do with fear or homophobia. Im a mother and my children will be trained to respect all their peers and authority regardless of race, religion, sexual, etc. I mean that. It will kill me as a parent if my children ever mistreats another person (such as calling them a transphobic a$$h0le). It goes againt my religion and my own personal views. I TRULY hope that Coy will not have to deal will hatred and cruelty. I hope he grows up to be a healthy, happy adult. I just dont think people have to see the genitals of the opposite sex. I think a neutral restroom/locker will do fine just so little girls wont have to see certain body parts.

  • kathleen

    I am not at all opposed to the idea of a gender neutral bathroom stall. But I also believe , that the discussion in this particular case is that of a restroom. Not a place where showers or a need to be entirely undressed would ever come up. If any child was to be walking around naked in a grade school restroom they would be admonished. Therefore the child would likely be restricted to a private restroom stall and washing ones hands in a communal area. Therefore i believe the concern must be less of exposure to male gentalia and more of relegating this girl to a gender role that she doesnt assume.

  • Kathleen

    But I would dare to reason that the schooland/or the parents would be opposed to letting Coy, who identifies as female, in the male washrooms if Coy was to seriously take them up on this option.

  • Ari Ami

    I hope someday we as a society can recognize that gender, sex, and sexual orientation are separate entities that may intertwine, but are not always linked. I hope we can recognize that cisgender privilege exists. I hope that we can one day respect people regardless of their gender, whether they are cisgender, trans*, genderqueer, or whatever their identity. Trans* women are women, trans* men are men. Point blank. Gender is a social construct that is not linked to genitals. Gender is the brain. It is learned.

    I’m not surprised by the transphobia in the comments sections. Clutch is far from a feminist site. It’s not even that progressive if you consider the heteronormatve and cisgendered (and sometimes down right homophobic) nature of many (if not the majority) of articles. This just shows me how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. It saddens me deeply. It really hurts my heart that we have a long, long way to go.

  • Tara

    I don’t Clutch has ever claimed to be a feminist site. Some readers think they are – but I know Clutch has never stated that.

    On your other comment – I don’t think that is true. As a proud lesbian myself and long time reader of the site. They have definitely tried and are getting better in their support of LGBTQ. You should definitely go through the archives and see how they have defended and support LGBTQ for a while.

    A old Clutch writer Kim Mcloud is the founder of the site and I know Clutch is not flawless but is it somewhat progressive. You can’t fault the site for some of their commenters.

  • Tara
  • victoria

    ok, That makes sense. Then a separate restroom.

  • momo

    People who say transphobic things are acting like transphobic assholes. Calling Coy a boy when she is not a boy is transphobic.Just like I would call someone a racist asshole if they defended the use of the N-word or other racial slurs, I’m calling people out who choose to misgender this child. I have used restrooms and lockers all my life and have never once come into contact with another female’s genitals.At the most there is only a minimal risk of them seeing her and if they do, so what? Tell me exactly what bad things you think will happen? (People talk about protecting little girls from things that will do them no harm, all while ignoring all of the things that actually pose a danger to them. I am much more concerned about what violent things little girls see and experience outside of the locker room. I am more concerned about how they treat each than I am about if they happen to accidentally see a penis or a vagina) It’s shit like this that gets people starting to defend cruelty and hatred. Coy is not the opposite sex, she is a girl like all the others. Our gender is not defined by our genitals.Some women do not have vaginas. get over it.

  • momo
  • momo

    I will call anyone who misgenders her a transphobic asshole. If you’re actually interested in talking about this issue then I suggest you educate yourself first. Calling Coy a boy/he when she is a girl is hateful and ignorant. Suggesting that she may be a potential threat/danger in any way ( even if it’s just the danger of other girls seeing her genitals) is dangerous. People (children included ) have been killed over stuff like this.

  • NicoleS

    Given that Coy was given the option to use the nurse’s restroom, I’m not getting where the discrimination comes from. It sounds like there was an accommodation that took into account Coy’s circumstances (being a girl trapped in a boy’s body) and the concerns of others (not being comfortable with a biological boy in the girl’s restroom). This resolution sounds similar to what occurred with the kid in the author’s school.

    If this happened without their being a discussion with the parents (and perhaps Coy), it could have been jarring. But that having been said, I wonder whether what they are doing is helping or hurting here.

  • charlotte

    smh @ the school using male pronouns for someone who identifies as female

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Momo Coy is a boy. He has a penis. When Coy goes to the doctor, his medical claim is submitted under ‘male’.

  • dee

    I wonder what made them change their mind about her using the girls restroom?

    Whatever it was I think the fact that she now knows that her school basically doesn’t see her as a girl will hurt her.

  • Sheena

    Coy is male. He has male genitalia, so he is male. You gender is a social construct or label (boy/girl). He may refer to himself as a girl, but if the school system says that all MALE children must use the BOYS bathroom, then thats what it is. I think they have done thier part by suggesting the gender neutral nurse’s office restroom for Coy. But I don’t think Coy’s parents have a leg to stand on if (in some bylaws somewhere) it is a rule that female children use the girls room and male children use the boys room. Also it comes down to his rights to use the bathroom of the gender he identifies with, in which case you would have to think about how this issue applies to adults as well. Can a woman who identifies as a man just walk into a mens room at a restaurant and use it, or vice versa? I’m curious b/c seriously I dont’ know, never have run into this situation before…..would the patrons tell the manager or what? But I digress….

    I personally feel like he should use either the boys room or the neutral bathroom. I know that in school restrooms there are individual stalls that would prevent the girls from seeing his penis or anything like that, but kids are curious. Things happen and they see things that they aren’t intended to see. I don’t think that if I was the parent of a girl that went to that school, that I would be happy with a male child using the same restroom as her and have her possibly be exposed to seeing male genitalia too early.

  • au napptural

    I blame the parents for this foolishness. I didn’t even know what a gender was when I was in first grade. I swear, people project this stuff on to kids. If a boy says he likes pink, sparkles, or cooking nowadays the parents are screaming gay or transgender. Kids are just being kids. Like that boy who said who wanted to be a princess. He clearly just meant he wanted a pretty costume. Now the mom has exposed that to the world and he’s forced into a box b/c of a statement he made at 6 or 7 years old.

    My mom tells me when I was young I really idetnified with white people. Surprising I know. But she said when I was 3ish I used to go to them in public places, like restaurants. Naturally, they wanted to play with the cute brown baby, so they would pick me up. Then I would refuse to go back to my parents. Really. I’d start crying and have to be forced to go back- to my own parents! I think this had something to do with me watching too much tv and associating white dudes with Mr. Rogers and Barney. Anyhow, that was a weird phase. But because I’m black, and chocolate skinned at that, I could never identify as white. And my parents didn’t think my behavior meant I wanted to be white. I was a kid, doing kid stuff. But flip it. If I always ran to boys to play with and cried when I had to play with girls or wear dresses, people would say “oh, she’s transgendered” when in reality it could be something else entirely. Now if grown people want to claim their own gender, that’s fine. But parents should leave all of that to the child, when they grow up. B/c even assuming Coy said the words “I’m a girl/ I want to be a girl” what does that mean coming from a kid? This might mean the girls got more cookies or more fun toys. Maybe he wanted to be with the girls cause they were his friends. Who knows. But a child can’t understand the ramifications of that statement. We who can, as adults, need to take that with a grain of salt.

  • apple

    i think a one room unisex bathroom would be best. you know the ones they have in dept stores where either one of a sex can go or even a whole family (if you have kids) .. but of course that is costless for ONE person or a small number of trans, i mean in thailand where the population is larger it makes sense, but for every city or school in america its a bit wasteful

  • myblackfriendsays

    To all of the people saying, “He has a penis, so he’s a boy,” What about people born with ambiguous genitalia–what are they?

  • Treece

    Right! Children say lots of things at or around that age. You might hear them say “I’m a dog”, and they will assume the role as such for a month without fail. Will insist on you calling them Fido! Barking and everything. But we don’t insist on the school letting him/her take piss outside everyday because little so-and so believes they are a dog. Adults do push labels on children. Whether it be “boy” or “girl”, “black” or “white”, “transgender” or whatever. They are influenced by what they hear us say about them and what we assume. Coy is a 6 year old and you are right, he cannot be responsible for making such a complex life decision when his motives may be much more simple than we realized (i.e. he may just like girls toys or clothes or think that girls get better treatment).

  • Treece

    They are called intersex.

  • K

    this is sooo stupid …pay day and/or fame for the parents..quite honestly i dont give a damn what they allow there child to do but this is a classic example of HOW WOULD YOU FEEL? putting yourself in anothers shoes, would anyone with a child really want their 6 year old girl exposed to the penis of another child? little childrens bathroom aren’t like adults (from what ive seen) its either one with no doors, or open area because children at that age sometimes need help. like i said i dont give a damn if they want their child to be him, her, shim a shemale id teach my child to accept and explain that others raise their kids differently but id draw the line at allowing my kid to potentially be exposed to a penis of another child at such a young age. this parents are stupid, dense, or missing a few sandwiches out the picnic basket to not understand the issue here.

  • SpkKay13

    @ Momo and anyone else who insists on referring to Coy as a boy, how exactly would you explain this to school-aged children (Kindergarteners, 1st, & 2nd graders) who may have to use the bathroom with Coy? For those of you saying that Coy’s genitalia will not be exposed to young girls, think again. There have been several times when young children have come out of the school bathroom at my school with their clothes undone, things popping out all over the place, requiring assistance from an adult to fasten buttons, rearrange clothing, etc. In addition, there have been instances when students have walked around bathrooms with pants down at this young age as reported by other students. In order to give students privacy and foster independence, teachers stand outside of the bathrooms while allowing a few students to go in at a time during corporate bathroom breaks and/or remain in classrooms teaching while a student has to use the bathroom. With all of that said, how do you suggest that administrators handle irate parents coming to schools complaining of their children being disturbed due to them seeing male genitalia while in the girl’s bathroom? In order to foster an environment of equality in already fiscally restrained public schools, do you suggest that elementary schools have LGBT classes to help classmates of Transgender individuals understand why their girl classmate has a penis. Will the aforementioned treatment be afforded to ALL students who have differences in other areas? Coy’s parents are well within their rights to foster an environment that is comfortable for their child. However, the aforementioned should not be done at the expense of others. In cases such as these, Coy should be able to use the Nurse’s bathroom any time that she needs to go. Using the boy’s bathroom will also foster an environment filled with ambiguity due to Coy’s outward appearance. As soon as Coy’s parents decided to provide their child with the freedom to explore her transgender feelings and identity, they should have prepared themselves as well as her for what’s to come. Until Coy is in an environment that is free from government policies, funding, etc she will constantly have to assimilate due to school policy verbiage such as “clothing, activities, appearances etc that cause a distraction to the learning environment (read anything included in the academic setting) are prohibited (read a biological male with male parts using bathrooms designated for girls). She nor her parents will be able to sue their way into acceptance each and every time that someone does not cater to her transgender identify.

  • Kemba1284

    Coy is a BOY. I can say that I am a white woman with long blond hair, weigh 125 and have DD boobs but this not the case. Despite the fact that I may feel this in my HEART doesnt make it so. The same is the same with Coy, just because HE feels like a girl doesnt make it genetically so.

  • mEE

    I wish I knew parents of a transgender person because I wonder what occurred in their child’s life, particularly a child so young, that allows them to come to the conclusion that their child is transgender. it’s very confusing to me because I’m a teacher and I’ve had students that displayed what we’d call “atypical” behavior in relation to gender but I never thought, “oh this child must be transgender”.

    I had a 9yr old male student once that asked me to call him Tiffany. he played with dolls and liked pink (btw I’m a woman and I hated playing with dolls and didn’t like pink as a child so I realize those are more societal constructs of “what girls do”) and sashayed when he walked…and wanted to be called Tiffany. I didn’t call him Tiffany because that wasn’t his name. I had a student who told me she wanted to be called Queen and I didn’t call her that either. I mean when I said boys line up, he would line up with the boys, but still, he wanted to be called Tiffany. and some kids even started calling him that

    so should I have asked him if he thought he was a girl and then started treating him like one? should I have respected his wishes and called him Tiffany? I’m thoroughly confused.

  • Echi

    I’d hate to be sacrilegious here, but the idea that this young girl has to go to the nurse’s station anytime she needs to use the restroom reeks of a modern day “separate but equal” kind of deal – which, as we all know is never really equal. I feel like one day our children will turn around and accuse us if being on the wrong side of history with this one.
    Gender identity pretty much begins at a pretty early age. Transgendered people just don’t up and appear out of a vacuum and show up at our colleges and offices. If we claim to be an open and understanding society, our children as well should start from an early age understanding these differences. I think the unquestioned inclusion and acceptance of transgendered children in every facet of our you g people’s lives makes for a more enriching experience and a great prophylaxis to later bigotry.

  • myblackfriendsays

    Yes, so what bathroom are intersexed people supposed to use? The nurses bathroom, or whatever bathroom they feel more comfortable in?

  • Allie

    I would say that you should of called him. I’m assuming this child prefers masculine pronouns Tiffany if that what he wanted you to call him. I mean if a cisgender student named Melissa wanted you to call them Isabel wouldn’t you have done it?

  • Allie

    Shame on you and all the cissexist that gave you the thumbs up.

  • Allie

    I’m going to agree. This comment section reeks of cissexism and it’s disgusting. I feel that whenever this site has something to do with gender or sexuality you see the ugly and backwardness in people. Some of the same people that love to talk about feminism and eradicating racism, come to these articles and ish on LGBTQ people especially those that are under the TQ. It’s sad to me that people think it’s ok to discredit these parents claims and misgender this child due to her age and feel ok with the discrimination against this child due to the fact they wouldn’t want their child to see the genitals of someone of the “opposite sex”. How can that happen? There are nothing but stalls in the girls bathroom, unless she decided to pull her pants down randomly outside of that stall then how can that happen? Does your child see the genitals of the other girls in the bathroom? Oh no, you say. Then shut-up and stop trying to excuse your transphobia. People like you are the reason why there’s a case anyways. You should be ashamed and realize that you’re on the wrong side of history on this one.

  • LKJ

    I agree with the school district. This isn’t just about their kid but all the kids in the school. He is anatomically a boy and should not use the girl’s restroom. PERIOD
    Maybe they could set up a gender neutral bathroom for him, but either way he doesn’t belong in the girl’s restroom

  • angel


  • Ari Ami

    Thanks Allie. The transphobia is astounding, but I’m not surprised.

    Also, this was a homphobic: article

    There have also been several articles on bisexuality that have been absolutely horrible. There were two on whether or not someone should date a bisexual man. Seriously? Why must we further pathologize bisexuality? Biphobia is so rampant in this society. We don’t need to make it worse by putting out these images that lack nuance and are very narrow minded.

  • Blue

    Does he still have a penis? Yes? Ok problem solved..moving along.

  • mEE

    no, I wouldn’t. why would I if that’s not the child’s name? I call my students by their names and on rare occasions by their nicknames (ex. I’ll call Samantha, Sam or Sammy). I’m not going to call you some random other name whether you’re transgender, cisgender, or any other gender.

  • opinionatedgal

    How about gender-neutral bathrooms…

  • Allie

    Another great idea.

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