The Colorado Civil Rights Division has ruled in favor of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, whose school barred her from using the girls' bathroom at her Fountain elementary school because she is transgender.

"This is huge for Coy and every transgender child throughout the state," said Kathryn Mathis, Coy's mother. "We told her and she was completely thrilled. Her eyes got all bright and she jumped up and down and said 'So, this means I can go to school and make friends again.'"

Coy was born with male genitals, but as soon as she was able to express herself at around 18 months, it became clear to her parents that she thought of herself as a girl. Mathis' parents filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division after Coy was denied access to the girls' bathroom at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8.

In February, after filing the complaint, the Mathis family removed Coy from classes.

The decision marks the first ruling in the nation holding that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms that match the gender with which they identify, and the most comprehensive ruling ever supporting the rights of transgender people to access bathrooms without harassment or discrimination.

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, the New York-based nonprofit that handled the Mathis' civil rights complaint, said Sunday it will hold a news conference on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol at noon Monday to explain the decision.

The Mathis family recently relocated to Aurora, where Coy will start second grade in the fall.

"We're grateful to the voters of Colorado for having put these protections for people like Coy in place to begin with, and we're thankful to the Civil Rights Division for enforcing the protection," Kathryn Mathis said. "This is incredible for her future, and for every other transgender child in Colorado."


Contact Stephanie Earls: 636-0364


Stephanie Earls is a news reporter and columnist at The Gazette. Before moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, she worked for newspapers in upstate NY, WA, OR and at her hometown weekly in Berkeley Springs, WV, where she got her start in journalism.

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