Coy Mathis, transgender first-grader, hits New York Times as school district responds

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coy mathis 205x205.jpg
Big photos, videos below.
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.

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."

coy mathis and family on katie.jpg
Coy Mathis with her parents on the Katie Couric show.
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:
Nonetheless, conflicts over gender identity are, understandably, sensitive territory for administrators, transgender students and their families.

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.

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."

coy mathis on katie 2.jpg
Another look at Coy Mathis on the Katie Couric program.
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.

"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.



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39 comments
mrlserr
mrlserr

The child looks like a boy in the face and why is the mom always holding only this child in all photos?

doobiedo
doobiedo

people who kill themselves are not heroes and get no sympathy from me...life hard deal with it.

anarchistbookshop
anarchistbookshop

    As a parent with 3 kids of my own (age almost 5 to age 20) plus two step-kids, and as the parent of a daughter who at age 2.5 began insisting that she was my son, I really need to weigh in here.  Age six is far too young to be certain as to what a child's gender identity is, and this kid may well (if his parents leave him alone and just get him gender-neutral clothing) grow out of this.

    I have a daughter (almost nine at the present).  Starting when she was about 2.5 she began insisting that she was a boy.  It didn't stop, no matter how much I gently tried to explain that no, really, she was a girl. By the time she was 3.5, she was refusing to wear dresses, and would scream and tantrum if I tried to put her in them.  

     When she was age 4 or so, I once had kids come up to me in the park, and ask me "is 'that' a boy or a girl?"  I said she was a girl.  They said "then why does she say she is a boy?"  At that time, I didn't have any reasonable response except to say that some people are born into the wrong body and that even though she had a girl body, she thought she had a boy mind.  My daughter continued to insist that she was a boy, only wanted boy toys, and would get very upset if anyone referred to her as a girl.

     So for kindergarten, I regretfully gave up on the cute pink frilly things that I'd set my heart on, and instead bought my daughter all sorts of gender-neutral clothing-- blue jeans, navy, grey, red and black sweat pants, navy, grey, yellow, red and black sweat-shirts, red chuckie taylor sneakers that could have been for either gender, and gender-neutral animal and sea-life t-shirts.  I wasn't entirely convinced that my daughter was transgendered, but if she was (and I was starting to think so, given that she had been insisting for 2 years that she was male), at least this was a neutral way to subtly go about things without raising a ruckus or drawing attention to my child (or her siblings).  Also, she has a very unusual Greek name that few in the US will peg for either a girl's or boy's name.  So when kindergarten started, she had all sorts of gender-neutral clothing, and a gender-neutral hairstyle, so she wouldn't stand out, regardless of which gender she said she was.  Plenty of time for these things to be figured out, I thought.

     Maybe 2-3 weeks into kindergarten, my daughter (who had just spent the past 2 years insisting she was a boy and getting very angry when anyone such as myself said otherwise), began asking me, each morning, if the clothing I'd laid out for her was "girl clothes."  I initially said that the clothing was for either a girl or a boy.  She started expressing frustration-- now she wanted only girl clothing!

     Since then, she has wanted to wear girl clothing (as long as it is not a dress or skirt-- she says she feels "funny" in a dress or skirt).  She is extremely physically active and has more friends that are boys than are girls, but it's been over three years since she's said she was a boy.  

     Age six is, indeed, way too young to be pushing a child toward any gender identification.  What is wrong with gender-neutral clothing for this child?  For example blue jeans, a purple shirt, a gender-neutral necklace, short but not too-short hair, and purple or green chuckie taylors?  His parents could always let him have colored undies and girlie socks underneath.  But my daughter's experience really shows that age 6 is way too young for certain.  By age 9 or 10 is a wholly different matter.  But age 6, it seems like the parents are way too wrapped up in this.  

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

Sites like Model Mayhem are a scam.  You have to buy a subscription/membership.  If you were actually talented or beautiful to really make it, you wouldn't have to pay for "exposure."  

Troy Hoisington
Troy Hoisington

When I was 4 I identified as Superman. i wore a Superman outfit and tried to jump off the roof. BTW...I am NOT Superman.

Patricia Kimpel
Patricia Kimpel

Forcing her to dress and act like a boy just because she was born male would be an example of making a decision for her. Allowing her to dress and act however feels natural to her is just freedom of choice.

Benjamin Bradburn
Benjamin Bradburn

The fact that these parents are making a decision for their child is deplorable. I don't want someone from an opposite gender in my bathroom. Period. Somewhere in here there needs to be respect for everyone else.

Patricia Kimpel
Patricia Kimpel

@Chris Estus, I wish I could live in the simple world you do where everything is just black or white, on or off, up or down. And I think you need to do more research on the subject of Gender Identity Disorder before you go making statements about how someone else feels. I bet you don't know any transgender people so your argument has no weight anyways. Would I care if this GIRL was next to another GIRL in the bathroom in high school, middle school, elementary school, daycare or even Outback Steakhouse? No. Even a unisex bathroom shouldn't matter if you teach your children to behave with dignity and respect (don't screw in public bathrooms, mind your business, etc). Parents are supposed to teach their children to make good choices, how to be responsible, to have accountability, to be kind to others, how to read, write and speak properly, to have respect for others, etc. Not on how to be a proper male or female and CERTAINLY NOT make gender identity, sexual identity or sexual orientation decisions for them. Nobody is condemning HER to anything. They're allowing HER to identify how SHE feels. Just because this child was born with a penis doesn't mean SHE wants to play with GI Joes or wear boys clothes. SHE feels comfortable wearing girls clothes and maybe even prefers barbies or my little pony. And you're suggesting HER parents FORCE HER to wear clothes SHE doesn't like and play with toys that don't interest her because SHE was born with a penis? That's ridiculous and disgusting! And no, it's not the same as forcing your child to eat their veggies, clean their room or go to school even if they don't want to. Do you also agree with arranged marriage? Obviously young people are too inexperienced to know what qualities make for a good partner so you better pick your child's spouse for them because you know what's best. And I think the word you were looking for is beliefs not believes.

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

@Patricia do you REALLY think a 4 or 5 year old has a sexual identity? They siad some dumb ass Dr. confirmed this crap a year ago? Please these people are condeming this kid to a screwed up life just because they have certain believes. This is why we have parents to GUIDE us, not to make us a target at school and in public. How many of you are going to want him in the girls bathroom in High School? Do really want him in the stall next to your daughter when he is 16? Sorry if you got one hanging you go in the mens room end of story.

Hubb Crutchfield
Hubb Crutchfield

When I was that age I I would have been perfectly happy to use the nurses or faculty restroom. Nothing to do with gender identification. Just cleaner and less creepy all the way around. This seems like a decent compromise in light of there has never been previous president set. Perhaps when she's a little older she could choose the restroom herself.

Aaron LeForce
Aaron LeForce

as someone who knows transgender individuals i applaud these parents for having the strength to do what most do not. one thing most transgender individuals wish, is that they would of been able to transition before puberty...rather than having to wait till they are a legal adult. most transgender children recognize they are so by age 4. she is not a boy that likes to wear dresses, most boys like to play dress up in their moms clothes. transgender children experience a disconnect between their sex, which is anatomy, and their gender, which includes behaviors, roles and activities. if you know nothing about this subject you should keep your thoughts to your self. if you think her parents are classifying her as a female just because she likes to put on dresses...you are an idiot and should educate yourself. i apologize to all the transgender individuals out there for all the asshole comments.

Becca Mertens
Becca Mertens

I don't know if there is a right answer. If she goes to the girls bathroom and another girl sees her standing up and facing the oppisite direction it could raise a lot of concern, but if a girl goes to the boys bathroom its going to cause the boys to be uncomfortable. These are 1st graders not adults. They don't understand transgenders and I think its too complicated for a young child to understand.

Renee Garcia
Renee Garcia

Gender identification is not a determining factor for eligibilty to earn an education, regardless of this students age. He or she should not be banned frm attending school, especially a public institution, based on gender. Classic textbook descrimination.

Sherry Larkin
Sherry Larkin

I say congratulations to Coy's parents for being astute enough to recognize her orientation, and having the courage to do something about it! Shame on the school district for not working to find an equitable solution.

Patricia Kimpel
Patricia Kimpel

And what's your reasoning for that statement Chris Estus? Also, *girl and *her and the appropriate pronouns for your sentence.

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

This boy should be taken from his useless idiot parents.

Oi'Ram Arejan
Oi'Ram Arejan

Fuck this post and whoever at westword that put it up.

instntkrma
instntkrma

how fucked up is this. That poor kid. As a teen, imagine a "coming out" as a straight, non-transgender person a possibility. I can just imagine the parents horror...

kiddingme
kiddingme

When my brother was 4 he wanted to be a duck, when he was 6 he wanted to be a rabbit. This is insanity. Here's the thing, Mathis adults: your kids can't have everything they want. Huge life lesson. You have a penis, you're a boy, boys pee here. Done. You can make sex identity decisions when you're in your teens. This country has gone insane when it comes to child-rearing. This kid will be cheated of a normal childhood because of this craziness.

rockiesfever
rockiesfever

look..im all for gay rights and people identifying as other genders and what not. surgeries, gay marriage...whatever. fine. but this is a 6 year old child. a 6 year old doesnt know the difference between dolls and baseball bats. theyre both toys...... a 6 yr old will plsy dress up in mommy or daddys clothes..the child doesnt care. If Coy does turn out to be a transgender human thats fine.... but in what capacity does that decision have to be made at 6 years old?? A 6 year old shouldnt have to be making decisions like this. Or even knowing the difference. There are hundreds of thousands of respectable transgender people on this earth.....but this is the first story of a child..a SIX YEAR OLD BABY.....dealing with this . These parents arent being progressive they are being ridiculous. way to rob a kid of its childhood.  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Patricia Kimpel  ... imagine what a wonderful world it would be if all children were allowed to act and behave as they desired ... without any adult guidance or restraint.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Benjamin Bradburn "I don't want someone from an opposite gender in my bathroom. Period."

Why not?

Be specific, and show your work.

tessa_goddess13
tessa_goddess13

@Renee Garcia  He's not being deprived of an education, just being allowed to use the girls room. He was given viable alternatives to using it: the nurses bathroom, the staff bathroom which is gender neutral or the boys' bathroom.  His parents removed him from school on their own cognizance because of the bathroom issue, NOT because of an educational one.  If he falls behind in classwork, it's the parents fault, not the school's.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Renee Garcia It seems that the bathrooms are the issue here and not what is being taught in classes.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Sherry Larkin ... they have provided the child with its own DEDICATED bathroom facilities -- specifically for transgender -- that's MORE than equitable.


michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@kiddingme Strong post, kiddingme. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

anarchistbookshop
anarchistbookshop

@rockiesfever  As the parent of a girl who spent 2 years insisting she was a boy before she changed her mind, I wholly agree with you.  Age six is far too young to be certain as to what a child's gender identity is, and this kid may well (if his parents leave him alone and just get him gender-neutral clothing) grow out of this.

    I have a daughter (almost nine at the present).  Starting when she was about 2.5 she began insisting that she was a boy.  It didn't stop, no matter how much I gently tried to explain that no, really, she was a girl. By the time she was 3.5, she was refusing to wear dresses, and would scream and tantrum if I tried to put her in them.  

   When she was age 4 or so, I once had kids come up to me in the park, and ask me "is 'that' a boy or a girl?"  I said she was a girl.  They said "then why does she say she is a boy?"  At that time, I didn't have any reasonable response except to say that some people are born into the wrong body and that even though she had a girl body, she thought she had a boy mind.  My daughter continued to insist that she was a boy, only wanted boy toys, and would get very upset if anyone referred to her as a girl.

     So for kindergarten, I regretfully gave up on the cute pink frilly things that I'd set my heart on, and instead bought my daughter all sorts of gender-neutral clothing-- blue jeans, navy, grey, red and black sweat pants, navy, grey, yellow, red and black sweat-shirts, red chuckie taylor sneakers that could have been for either gender, and gender-neutral animal and sea-life t-shirts.  I wasn't entirely convinced that my daughter was transgendered, but if she was (and I was starting to think so, given that she had been insisting for 2 years that she was male), at least this was a neutral way to subtly go about things without raising a ruckus or drawing attention to my child (or her siblings).  Also, she has a very unusual Greek name that few in the US will peg for either a girl's or boy's name.  So when kindergarten started, she had all sorts of gender-neutral clothing, and a gender-neutral hairstyle, so she wouldn't stand out, regardless of which gender she said she was.  Plenty of time for these things to be figured out, I thought.

     Maybe 2-3 weeks into kindergarten, my daughter (who had just spent the past 2 years insisting she was a boy and getting very angry when anyone such as myself said otherwise), began asking me, each morning, if the clothing I'd laid out for her was "girl clothes."  I initially said that the clothing was for either a girl or a boy.  She started expressing frustration-- now she wanted only girl clothing!

     Since then, she has wanted to wear girl clothing (as long as it is not a dress or skirt-- she says she feels "funny" in a dress or skirt).  She is extremely physically active and has more friends that are boys than are girls, but it's been over three years since she's said she was a boy.  

     Age six is, indeed, way too young to be pushing a child toward any gender identification.  What is wrong with gender-neutral clothing for this child?  For example blue jeans, a purple shirt, a gender-neutral necklace, short but not too-short hair, and purple or green chuckie taylors?  His parents could always let him have colored undies and girlie socks underneath.  But my daughter's experience really shows that age 6 is way too young for certain.  By age 9 or 10 is a wholly different matter.  But age 6, it seems like the parents are way too wrapped up in this.  

FivePoints
FivePoints

@rockiesfever 

 I hate to agree with a guy who posts a photo like that ... but you echoed my exact thoughts about this. I used to listen to Cyndi Lauper and Madonna almost exclusively at the age of 6 -- I'm glad my parents didn't start dressing me up as a girl. And my wife was the epitome of a tom boy as a child -- for some reason her parents continued to believe that she was, in fact, a female. 


It's my belief that these parents are out of their minds.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@anarchistbookshop Fascinating story, anarchistbookshop. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

NeverBeenStr8
NeverBeenStr8

@FivePoints @rockiesfever Being a gay man who honors all, I have to agree that this is wrong.  I remember when I was around this child's age and I would dress up in my mom's heels and wrap a towel around my head and pretend I was a girl.  I believe that was largely influenced by the fact that I was surrounded by female role models.  These parents seem to be pushing their beliefs and assumptions on this child with little to no consideration around how his self image might change as he enters puberty.  Do they realize what they've done to this child, and how this will follow him around for the rest of his life?  I mean look at the family portrait.  Don't you think that perhaps, just perhaps, the child is going along with his sisters and trying to fit in or relate to them??!?!?!?!!  Let the child be what it wants to be without pushing adult thoughts and beliefs on him.  This is just wrong.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I really haven't a clue so I will just shut the fuck up & move on to something I may have contributions ....

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@Cognitive_Dissident  It's more bewilderment than anything else . I'm curious how she's perceived by the parents of the kids she plays w/ & calls friends . Sleep overs and yes,  locker-rooms as she reaches teenage years .

I wouldn't wanna be in daddy's shoes about right now, w/ the understanding it WILL only be getting worse for ALL involved .

1,250 to 1 , she'll be home schooled long before the issue of puberty becomes an issue . Hopefully it isn't spilling out negatively to her other  siblings, who I imagine are just as confused as anyone else,  for that matter .

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