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When we are kids, we dream of being doctors, lawyers, astronauts, politicians, and writers. Most of us don’t dream about becoming the opposite sex. 

Gender identity isn’t usually something we think about or even consider having a “choice” in. 

So when I first heard the story of Coy Mathis, a 6-year-old transgender girl, I couldn’t possibly understand how a child that young could decide that they are in fact a “girl trapped in a boy’s body,” or vice versa. It just didn’t make any sense to me. 

But misunderstanding should not be a gateway to fear and discrimination. 

According to Coy’s parents, she was born male but has been demonstrating signs of being transgender since the age of 18 months. Once her parents realized that continuing to dress her in male clothing and treat her like the boy she was born to be was affecting her mental health, causing sadness and depression, they made the choice to allow Coy to identify as female. This all occurred last year when Coy was in kindergarten. 

At first, the school was completely accepting of the change. Coy was referred to by “she” pronouns and treated like all of the other girls. She was even able to use the girl’s bathroom. However, recently the school has informed the parents of a change in policy. They will no longer allow Coy to use the girls’ bathroom. Instead, they stated that she would either have to use the boy’s bathroom, the nurse’s bathroom, or the staff bathroom. 

Her school was wrong. Her Principal was wrong. And the concerned parents of her classmates were wrong.

Coy should not be banned from using the girl’s bathroom because she is transgender.

In the words of her mother, “by them putting her in a situation where she is the only one using these other bathrooms, they are setting her up for harassment and bullying.”

Nobody wants to be the ONE KID that has to use a different bathroom. 

The school is directly violating the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by banning Coy from using the girl’s restroom and mandating her to use one of the other restrooms in the building. This act protects transgender children from being unequally treated.

The law states that “places of public accommodation may not deny any person participation, entry, or services based upon the person’s sexual orientation, including transgender status.”

This means that a man, or boy, who identifies as transgender has the legal right to use a women’s restroom. 

Yes…even Coy.

In America, we often fear what we do not understand. This is certainly the case for many of the surrounding parents at Coy’s school, particularly the parents of little girls. Many believe that Coy’s presence will be a negative influence on the young minds of their children. 

Education should be offered in the place of discrimination. This is an opportunity for parents to teach their kids about the ways of the world. They should be having these conversations and talking to their children about embracing diversity. Things are changing…people are changing. We can no longer pretend that issues such as gender identity conflict do not exist. 

We cannot stand for equal rights for all on the basis of race, without standing for equal rights on the basis of gender and sexual-orientation as well. 

Diversity is diversity.

This is not a call for everyone to condone their child being gay or transgender. This is a call for everyone to have a discussion with their children about the existence of these things, whether or not they believe that these choices are “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad.” Parents need to be accountable for educating their children on tolerance for other people’s differences. 

If you have a problem with your kid sharing a bathroom with a transgender student, then your kid should be the one having to go to the nurse or the principle’s office to use the restroom.

Coy poses no threat to other girls by sharing a bathroom with them. What is the worst that can happen?

She will do her business, wash her hands, and leave. It’s not like she’s going to be walking around there with her pants down. 

People put up barriers in front of transgender people, because they don’t want to be placed in uncomfortable situations. 

Get over it!

The brief discomfort that we or our children may face in the presence of transgender people is nothing compared to the hate and mistreatment that many of them face everyday.

The bigger picture here is that the world is no longer just black or white, man or woman. There are some gray areas. We as a country need to decide what we are going to do in order to accommodate all transgender students and ultimately protect those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community from bullying and discrimination. 

These issues are real.

The emergence of unisex and/or coed bathrooms in all facilities is a must. Ramps were built for handicapped people, bathrooms should be built for transgender people. 

It’s either that or people need to learn to accept transgender students, coworkers, acquaintances, and peers being in restrooms and other public places with them and their loved ones. 

What’s the big deal?

-Ari Andrews

@Ariforshort so I know it’s real

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