The New Gender Paradigm
In 2013, Eagleside Elementary School, a public school in Fountain, Colorado (a suburb of Colorado Springs) determined that the 6-year old girl in the picture above was Really a Boy and that "he" had to use the boy's restroom. The issue hit the international headlines and galvanized parents to take a stand:
"I don't want my 7-year-old girl going into a restroom with a boy," the media quoted Karen Carter, a concerned parent from Aurora, Colorado, 90 miles to the north.
The amazing aspect of the controversy is how anyone could look at the child in the picture and think that she was Really a Boy? How could reasonable people think that forcing her into the boy's restroom would (a) be safe for the child and (b) promote equilibrium in the school?
The justification for the school's declaration was in the little girl's underwear. The school board ruled that she didn't have a girl's proper genitals. They made a public announcement about the presumed "defect". The other parents were aghast and demanded action.
When the news broke, reporters obtained juicy quotes from leading gender experts. It's standard fare: Girls with genital differences have a "mental disorder" because they "experience great distress and discomfort at being unable to express who they believe they are," explained Dr Karen Scarpella from the University of Denver. Dr Daniel Reirden, a transgender specialist at the Children's Hospital Colorado advocated that families force their children to obey their genitals at school, but maybe they can "come home to a safe and supportive environment where they can express their perceived gender." Denver Psychologist Sarah Burgamy was more forceful: She advises a "wait and see approach" -- girls like Coy shouldn't be allowed to wear dresses or play with dolls until they're adults. "In most children, gender dysphoria will disappear around the age of puberty or before."
(See Pediatricians see growing number of cross-gender kids like Coy Mathis, by Colleen O’Connor, The Denver Post 3 March 2013)
Note the words "believe" and "perceive": The doctors were sure that Coy was lying or delusional when she announced at age 18 months, "I'm a girl."
Kristy Armstrong, spokeswoman of the Denver Public School system -- the largest in the state -- announced that they likewise don't allow transsexual girls to use the correct restroom. The school system teaches 82,000 students, with around 1000 transsexuals enrolled. None of its 4,500 teachers are transsexual, consistent with the district hiring policy. Colorado also restricts transsexuals from participating in schoolathletic programs (CHSAA Bylaws Article 3).
In spite of the doctors & experts, Colorado has a law that permits transsexuals to use the appropriate restroom -- it's one of only a handful of states across the nation with such a law. Coy's conflict with the school was brought before the Colorado Civil Rights Division who ruled in favor of the 6-year old. Although advocacy groups proclaimed a victory, one wonders about the emotional impact the sensationalism had on the child.
© Cassandra Branch (2013)