Mar 3 2013

 

 

 

Coy-Mathis-transgender-youthCoy Mathias

This week the case of young six year old Transgender student has gained a lot of attention. Katie Couric featured it on her show. The highly respected Trangender Legal Defense Fund (TLDF) has taken the young child's case. A friend of mine expressed skepticism about the case and the young age of the plaintiff. The friend said the young child couldn't possibly know about being Transgender.

Here are the key points in the case of young six year old Coy Mathis in Colorado:

* The Transgender Legal Defense and Education fund (TLDEF) reported that Coy Mathis "was labeled male at birth, but has always known that she is a girl, and has expressed that since she was 18 months old."

* The child has worn girls clothing at school and has used the girls restrooms, the organization reported. However, in mid-December, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District informed Coy's parents that she would be prevented from continuing to use the girls' restroom after the winter break. Instead, the child needed to use the boys' bathroom, a staff bathroom or the nurse's bathroom.

* According to a letter sent by TLDEF to the district superintendent, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act prevents the withholding of public accommodations at educational institutions based on sexual orientation. The term "sexual orientation" includes transgender status, the organization stated.

* In response , an attorney for the school district stated that the child has not been denied the full and equal enjoyment of the educational services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of the school.

Coy's mother Kathryn, who is home-schooling her now, stated,

"We want Coy to return to school to be with her teachers, her friends, and her siblings, but we are afraid to send her back until we know that the school is going to treat her fairly. She is still just 6 years old, and we do not want one of our daughter's earliest experiences to be our community telling her she's not good enough."

Upon reflection, there is no question that when I was six that I knew that I was different from everyone else and had fantasies about men. In fact, what shocks me today isn't that fact that I knew I was 'gay' or 'different', is that I knew innately that I couldn't share that information with anyone. Where does a six year old get such wisdom on such a complex issue?

Especially in the 1950's when there was Internet, no magazine stories and absolutely no discussion about it within families - at least with children. When I was in teens I remember my father saying at the dinner table that a family was better off with their child dead than being queer. Of course with that message I knew to keep my secret but that wasn't until years later.

There is no question in my mind that it is possible for Coy to know of her Transgender status and how fortunate she is to have such loving and understanding parents. Coy will face enormous number of challenges ahead but one won't be living a lie day in and day out.