A Victory for a Young Lady in Colorado, or “Really, are we STILL talking about where people can pee?”

via Rights Unit Finds Bias Against Transgender Student – NYTimes.com.

So, I am poking fun at the whole situation of the trans bathroom complicated in the title. But at the same time, as much as other people want to get up in arms about how dangerous and scary it is to have trans people in our public bathroom, all we really want is to void out bladders in relative safety with minimal hassle. I’ve already given some significant effort to discussing the trans bathroom “problem” elsewhere in the blog, but that article was driven primarily towards adults.

What’s going on here is some poor child is being forced to endure some very adult complications because of her gender identity. She’s six years old and was assigned a male gender at birth, but currently identifies as a girl. She presents as a girl and is identified as such at school. And some parents freaked out at the notion of her using the girls room and the school forced her to use a separate bathroom in the nurses office. Today, the Colorado civil rights division found that the district had discriminated against her, and ordered the school to allow her to use the girls bathroom.

Now, the challenges of appropriately handling children and students (particularly very young ones) who do not identify as their birth sex are numerous and complicated, and too much to cover in this particular post. I’ve sketched out some writing on that topic in particular that will be making an appearance as one of my usual biweekly essays some time in the coming weeks. But the important thing to point out is that the general consensus is that children should be allowed to explore their cross-gender feelings and/or identities as want, and that those who do are generally much healthier.

So I’m very happy for Coy that she can return to school and be comfortable being who she is. That’s a wonderful victory for her. But there’s language in the ruling that I think is important beyond just what it means for this brave little girl. From the article:

But the state’s ruling went even further, saying that evolving research on transgender development showed that “compartmentalizing a child as a boy or a girl solely based on their visible anatomy, is a simplistic approach to a difficult and complex issue.”

Depriving Coy of the acceptance that students need to succeed in school, Mr. Chavez wrote, “creates a barrier where none should exist, and entirely disregards the charging party’s gender identity.

This speaks to a significant level of research and understanding of the issues surrounding gender identity by the Colorado civil rights commission. And that’s huge. It means that at least in some places, the people in power are taking notice of trans issues and learning about the. And not just the basics, but actually developing an understanding of the deeper complexities of gender and gender identity. While Colorado is a relatively left-leaning state, it still gives me hope that this kind of though will continue to spread and genuinely improve the lives of trans people everywhere.

So my hat is off to the Colorado civil rights commission, and a big congratulations to brave miss Coy on her victory.

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