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Parents of trangender child fighting bathroom issue

By Joe Dominguez, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau , j.dominguez@krdo.com
Published On: Feb 27 2013 11:46:09 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 28 2013 03:42:17 PM CST

The Mathis household has been very different since the family decided to pull all their kids from Eagleside Elementary school because their transgender child was banned from using the girls' bathroom.

FOUNTAIN, Colo. -

The Mathis household has been very different since the family decided to pull all their kids from Eagleside Elementary school because their transgender child was banned from using the girls' bathroom.

Up until January, Coy, 6, had been allowed to use the girls' bathroom. Then school leaders set new rules that required Coy, who was born a boy but identifies herself as a girl, to use a staff bathroom or the boys' bathroom.

"If they were to reverse their decision, then it would again be a safe and welcoming environment for the children," said Kathryn Mathis, mother of Coy.

The Mathis children have been home-schooled since the decision. They've also hosted a national documentary crew for four of the past eight weeks. On Wednesday, the entire brood traveled to Denver to take make their complaint official and their fight even more public.

Coy has called herself a girl since she first started talking. Her parents tried dressing Coy in boy's clothes for the first semester of kindergarten but it didn't take.

"When she was forced to live as a boy she was very depressed," said her mother. "Coy had a massive amount of anxiety, didn't do well in school, didn't have any friends,  didn't want to leave the house."

That lasted the first four months of kindergarten. When she returned to school in January as a girl, Coy was a different person.

"She was happier, was more outgoing -- she just blossomed into this beautiful young person that we were hoping to see before and we were happy about that," said Jeremy Mathis, her father.

Coy's mother said she has friends who know she was born a boy and it isn't an issue.

"Just because your body may look a certain way, it's not who you are," said Kathryn.

Kathryn and Jeremy said they knew being transgender would create difficulties in Coy's life but did not imagine problems beginning this early in life.

"Any parent wants the best for their child, they want the easiest [life] for them, so just knowing that she was going to face obstacles was difficult for us, we  worried," said Kathryn. But Coy's parents believe school leaders are acting immature by singling out their child.

"When you are stigmatizing one child, it automatically sets them up for harassment and bullying," said Coy's mother.

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