Transgender child's family fights school
- NEW: Coy Mathis' parents file a complaint under Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act
- Coy Mathis was born male, but identifies as female and dresses as a girl
- Coy can no longer use the girls' restroom at her elementary school
- The school district says Coy can use other restrooms in the school
(CNN) -- A prominent transgender rights group announced Wednesday that it has filed a discrimination complaint in Colorado on behalf of a first-grader who was born a boy but identifies as a girl.
Last December, school officials at Fountain-Fort Carson School District told Coy Mathis' parents that their child could no longer use the girls' bathroom at Eagleside Elementary.
That shocked her parents, said her mother, Kathryn Mathis.
Coy was born with male sex organs but has, since she could express herself, identified as female. The child had gotten through kindergarten with no problems and no complaints from anyone at the school, Mathis said.
The mother was flanked at a press conference at the Colorado Capitol in Denver by her husband, Jeremy, and four other children.
Kathryn Mathis explained that she pulled Coy out of school when the child was on winter break, well after school officials had called her to tell her about the bathroom ban.
The mother feared that bullies at the school would make fun of her daughter if she allowed Coy to go back to class.
"In the end we just want what is the best for Coy," Mathis said, explaining why the complaint was filed. "We want her to be able to go back to school and be treated equally without discrimination and harassment."
Attorney Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is representing Coy, said the complaint is intended to have an impact beyond a single family or school.
The complaint was filed with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.
"For many transgender people, discrimination is a daily part of life. Unfortunately for Coy, it has started very early," he said, adding that the complaint is a "test of Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act."
"The world is going to be looking at the school," he said, which can "send a message to the world and teach tolerance, fair play and equal rights."
A girl's life
For most of the past year, Coy has dressed as a girl.
Coy's passport and state-issued identification recognize her as female.
Transgender kids: Painful quest to be who they are
Kathryn Mathis said she got a call "out of the blue" from the school in December saying that Coy could use the boys' bathroom, gender-neutral faculty bathrooms or the nurse's bathroom, but not the girls' facilities.
The district "took into account not only Coy but other students in the building, their parents, and the future impact a boy with male genitals using a girls' bathroom would have as Coy grew older," the school district's attorney, W. Kelly Dude, told CNN Tuesday.
"However, I'm certain you can appreciate that as Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls' restroom."