Transgender girl allowed to use school restroom; How will ruling affect AZ?
By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Jun 24, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's a historic victory for gay rights, and it's all centered around a six year-old girl's push to use a public restroom.
Coy Mathis is transgender.
She was born a boy but identifies as a girl.
Her battle to use the bathroom of her chosen gender, which is now over, is hitting nerves all over the country, including here in southeastern Arizona.
She is a first grader on the front lines.
Monday night, it appeared her battle was won.
"There are thousands of families like ours across the country like ours, and none should have to fight for their children to have basic respect," said Kathryn Mathis.
That day, she stood on the steps of the Colorado capitol and praised a ruling by the state's rights division.
It will allow her daughter, born her son, to return to school this fall and use the girls' restroom.
"Schools should not discriminate against their students," said Mathis.
And in Colorado, they can't anymore.
But what about bathrooms beyond school grounds?
That's a battle Arizona has heard before.
"The events that are happening across the country show that it is clearly needed," said State Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Scottsdale).
Remember the 'bathroom bill'?
Proposed this past spring by Kavanagh, it would have made it a crime for any person to use a public restroom meant for the opposite sex.
Opponents claimed it targeted transgenders. They called it 'discrimintory'.
Soon, Kavanagh called it off.
Now, he says he's merely biding time.
"I simply changed it and said that no government can make it a crime for a business to enforce gender-specific facilities," he explained.
He plans to reintroduce the revised bill in January, a point that worries local activists.
"It's a respect issue and a dignity issue, and a transgender individual should be able to utilize that they identify with," said Carol Grimsby, executive director of Wingspan.
Both sides say they are ready for round two.
Neither knows what effect this little Colorado girl's landmark win will have.
9OYS also talked to several area school districts.
All of them say, they've never had a case like Coy's before.
Therefore, they have no policy on it.
Heads at Wingspan say it's only a matter of time, since younger and younger children are beginning to come out as lesbian, gay, and transgender.