Which Bathroom Should Transgender Children Be Using?!
Our children come into this world and we never know what kinds of challenges they may face and what we will face with them. One Colorado family gave birth to triplets, a boy and two girls and soon found that the boy, Coy Mathis, didn't feel like a boy at all. Instead, Mathis identified as a girl as early as 18-months-old. Since kindergarten, she has worn girl clothes, used the girls' bathroom and classmates and teachers refer to her as a "she."
I applaud the parents for embracing their child's identity. This can not be easy to do. It wouldn't be easy for me. You don't expect your son to be wearing dresses and demanding they are a girl with the wrong parts. A transgender child must deal with many obstacles and in December of 2012, the school prevented her from using the girls' restroom but instead offered up the nurse's or the teachers' bathrooms. The school felt it was a fair compromise. Her family did not. They worried that setting her apart in that manner would lead to harassment and bullying by other students. They filed a discrimination complaint against the Eagleside Elementary School's Fountain-Fort Carson School District.
This week the Colorado Civil Rights Division agreed with the parents and ruled that 6-year-old Coy Mathis, must be permitted to use the girls’ first grade bathroom in her school.
I really can see both sides of this issue. The school is trying to find a compromise - one that will give Coy Mathis the respect and dignity she deserves while not trampling on the rights of other students. The school worried about the ramifications as Mathis got older, and continued to use the girls' bathroom.
I believe that a transgender child is simple born that way. No amount of therapy is going to convince Coy Mathis that she is a boy. So schools need to adjust to make room for children dealing with this identity issue. I'm sure in the past, a transgender girl was simply forced to the use the boys bathroom, leading to much mental anguish. As a society, we do need to move forward to embrace and support every kind of child.
But I have a 6-year-old girl. How would I feel if a transgender girl (with boy parts) was using a bathroom along with my daughter? As long as there were separate stalls that provided all the children with privacy, I would be okay with it. Not 100% comfortable but okay with it.
But mostly I think about Coy Mathis. What if Coy Mathis was my child? What would I want for her? I would want her to feel accepted and not ashamed. I would want her to use the bathroom that she felt was the right one for her. But Coy is only 6 and I think things get more complicated as children get older. The Maine Supreme Court is taking on this very issue. The court is currently considering a similar case in which a 15-year-old transgender girl was prevented from using her school's girls' bathroom. It will be interesting to see what they decide.
Meanwhile, the Mathis family, who applauds the Colorado ruling, has moved to a different part of the state to seek treatment for another child who is disabled.