A difficult case

Stuff reported:

A 6-year-old girl with violet hair has become the unlikely poster child for the transgender people’s rights after her United States school barred her from using the girls’ bathroom.

The family of Coy Mathis has filed a civil rights lawsuit against her Colorado school over the issue, which has become a cause celebre since hitting the headlines last week, CNN reported.

Coy was born a boy but according to her mother she started expressing herself as a girl at the age of 18 months.

When the behaviour continued, the parents sought medical advice and were told that their child was transgender – a little girl in a boy’s body.

Though they diagnosed Coy as having a gender identity disorder, doctors recommended against surgery until she was older.

Which is the correct decision. Any decision on surgery should be made by Coy when she is older, not her parents.

When the child was in kindergarten at Eagle Elementary School in Fountain, Colorado there was no problem because Coy was allowed to use the girls’ bathroom.

But in December school officials told the family Coy could no longer use the girls’ facilities and would have to use the boys’ or nurse’s bathroom instead.

“That wasn’t a safe environment for her,” said Coy’s mother Kathryn Mathis, a nurse.

“It set her up for a lot of harassment and it wasn’t a place where we were able to let her be because we want her to be safe and we want her to be healthy.” …

The school said its decision “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”.

Kathryn Mathis is not blind to the possibilities but fears the district will stigmatise her daughter at a crucial stage in her development.

The sad reality is that life is going to pretty difficult for Coy Mathis regardless. I can see the school’s point about concerns for other students. It’s pretty difficult to explain to six year olds about trans-gender. But whichever set of toilets she uses, it means you have to explain to the other kids why, and it is likely she’s going to face some teasing or worse.

Which is why in the end, when both choices are imperfect, I’d go with what the family wants.


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