A recent case where a Colorado school banned a 1st grade transgender student from using the girl’s bathroom has brought to light the complications regarding transgender children and youth as they age in the standard school system. Particularly as it relates to bathroom use. Coy, who identifies as female but was born male, was recently told that she would no longer be able to use the girl’s bathroom by the school district. The district instead said that “She could instead use the boys’ bathroom, gender-neutral faculty bathrooms or the nurse’s bathroom, the district said.” There are two sides to this decision. The district says that they:
“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,” attorney W. Kelly Dude said.
“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.””
On the other hand, Coy’s parents feel that:
“By forcing Coy to use a different bathroom than all the other girls, the school is “targeting her for stigma, bullying and harassment,” said Michael Silverman, one of Coy’s lawyers and the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.
“Coy’s school has the opportunity to turn this around and teach Coy’s classmates a valuable lesson about friendship, respect and basic fairness.””
The parents are filing a complaint with the state’s civil rights division. There is no federal policy regarding use of bathrooms by transgender students in the school setting, which means that school policies vary. For example, New York doesn’t allow discrimination based on gender identity in regards to bathroom use; Maine states that baring individuals from using that bathroom which matches their gender identity is not a violation of rights. This case could potentially decide where Colorado falls on the spectrum.
To many who are not transgender, use of a bathroom may not seem to be that big of a deal. Yet, can be the simple things that distinguish us as being comfortable or uncomfortable in our environment and thus likely comfortable with ourselves.
Written By Georgianna Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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