Coy Mathis, transgender first-grader, hits New York Times as school district responds
Update: In recent weeks, we've told you about Coy Mathis, a Fountain six year old who was born male but identifies as female. She's at the center of a dispute with the local district over access to the girl's restroom at her school; look below to see our previous coverage, complete with photos and video. The story has gotten national attention epitomized by a sprawling weekend report in the New York Times. Meanwhile, the school district has responded to the Mathis discrimination complaint by a deadline -- but refuses to share details.
Big photos, videos below.
As we've reported, Coy and her parents, Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, who have five other kids (Coy is a triplet), are working with the Transgender Legal & Education Defense Fund, which filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division against the Fountain-Fort Carson School District #8. Coy's parents say they were informed over winter break that she could no longer use the girl's restroom at her school, Eagleside Elementary; instead, she would be restricted to the staff or nurse's office facilities. They believe that by issuing this edict, the school and the district are "singling her out for mistreatment, and teaching her classmates that it's okay to discriminate."
This message has been spread via appearances on CNN and Katie Couric's syndicated talk show, among other outlets; the Katie segment can be seen here. But the New York Times article, "Dispute on Transgender Rights Unfolds at a Colorado School," puts the Mathis matter in a larger context. Here's an excerpt:
Coy Mathis with her parents on the Katie Couric show.
Nonetheless, conflicts over gender identity are, understandably, sensitive territory for administrators, transgender students and their families.Some districts are trying to adapt to the demands of transgender students. For instance, the Times reports that "the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently issued guidelines on the treatment of transgender students, two years after the legislature passed a law banning discrimination based on gender identity."
Last month in Batesville, Miss., a group of high school students protested after a transgender classmate was permitted to wear women's clothing. The students felt that their classmate was being given preferential treatment given the school district's gender-specific dress code, according to local news reports.
Such institutions are no doubt hoping to avoid being thrust into the limelight, as the Fountain-Fort Carson district has been. Officials there previously declined to enter into mediation with the Mathis clan in an effort to resolve their disagreements -- and while the Colorado Springs Gazette reveals that they've submitted a response to the complaint by a March 17 deadline, they refuse to discuss its contents.
Another look at Coy Mathis on the Katie Couric program.
"The parents chose this forum and that's where we are going to have it resolved," district attorney Kelly Dude tells the Gazette. "There is no point arguing it in the media."
Perhaps not -- but the press' interest in the issue shows no signs of waning. The Mathis family, as represented by the TLDEF, now has thirty days to respond to the school district's filing -- and odds are good they won't keep what they have to say a secret.
Continue for our previous coverage about Coy Mathis, including photos and video.