DENVER, Colo - Near the steps of the state capitol Coy Mathis is smiling and playing. This child from Fountain is part of what could be a landmark discrimination case to help the transgendered community.
Coy is a 6 year old who goes to Eagleside Elementary in the Fountain Fort Carson School District. Coy is a little boy who dresses and acts like a little girl. The child's family refers to him as a little girl. For the rest of this article, I will also refer to the child as 'she.'
Coy's Mom, Kathryn Mathis, told me that Coy started expressing herself as a girl when she was old enough to talk. At 18 months, Coy had a strong affinity to anything female and an aversion to things that male boys would normally like in their lives. Kathryn told me that she and her husband took Coy to medical professionals after the child had severe depression and anxiety about having to live life as a boy.
Kathryn told me before the news conference, "Coy's body is a little different, but she is still an amazing girl." On Feb. 15, a complaint was filed on behalf of Coy to the Colorado Division of Civil Rights. The transgendered can not be discriminated against. That discrimination includes public facilities like bathrooms. This year, the Fountain Fort Carson School District told Coy that she would no longer be able to use the female restrooms at Eagleside Elementary. She could use the boys', nurse or staff restrooms.
Kathryn Mathis believes that is wrong. "We tried to work things out with the school and unfortunately they weren't willing to let us work anything out with them. She's being set up for harassment and bullying because they have stigmatized her because she is the only child who has to use restrooms, different from anyone else."
School District-8 released this response on Wednesday:
"The parents of Coy Mathis have filed a charge of discrimination with the Colorado Division of Civil Rights. They have chosen to publicize this matter by appearing on a nationally televised show with their child, sharing their point of view with national and local media, and holding a public press conference to announce the filing of the charge. The District firmly believes it has acted reasonably and fairly with respect to this issue. However, the District believes the appropriate and proper forum for discussing the issues identified in the charge is through the Division of Civil Rights process. The District is preparing a response to the charge which it will submit to the Division. Therefore, the District will not comment further on this matter out of respect for the process which the parents have initiated."
The School District has 30 days from Feb. 15 to formally respond to the complaint that the Mathis family has filed.