In Arizona, Republican lawmakers tried to push through a bill that would prohibit gender-variant children from using the bathrooms of their sexual identities - and fortunately it did not get adequate support to move forward.
Meanwhile, in less back-assward news:
A Colorado family celebrates a huge win this week for their transgender first-grader, who has won the right to use the girls' restroom at her school. What message does this send to kids sharing the school yard with transgender children?
The child in this ruling, Coy Mathis, is featured in the film below.
Other states or cities are also supporting the rights of gender-variant children, as well as those who are openly transgender:
- The San Francisco Unified School District recently added a transgender category in student health surveys. The survey found that 1.6 percent of high school students and 1 percent of middle school students identified as transgender or gender variant. Elementary students weren't in the survey, but Kevin Gogin, the program manager for school health programs, says the district has seen more young transgender and gender variant students, too.
- In California, which has had protections for transgender people for some time, a new law requires schools to provide transgender and gender variant students with "equal and full access to programs and facilities," such as gender-neutral bathrooms, if need be, and private changing areas for gym and sports.
- Overall, attitudes about differences in gender identity have been changing, even in the last decade, says Eli Erlick, a transgender student and graduating high school senior in Willits. When Erlick began her transition from boy to girl at age 8, she says that even she didn't know what the word "transgender" meant. She just knew that she wanted to live life as a girl. "I thought I was the only person like this," she says.
- Now Erlick is the director of an organization called Trans Student Equality Resources, which provides schools with training and information about students like her. Erlick also has helped her school district and others in California develop transgender policies.
- "There is definitely more awareness," says Kristyn Westphal, vice principal at Grant High School in Portland, Ore. There, they've established a student support team to determine how well the school is meeting the needs of transgender and other students. Earlier this year, the school also created individual gender-neutral bathrooms that any student can use.
On the surface, Coy Mathis is a typical six-year-old girl. She likes dressing up, gravitates towards the colour pink, and enjoys playing with her dolls. But Coy was born a boy.
Recently she won the right to use the girls restroom at her school in Colorado. The decision was made by the Colorado Civil Rights Division on Sunday that the Fountain-Fort Carson School District created an unnecessarily hostile situation for Coy Mathis by not allowing her to use the female bathroom.
Transgender advocates are hailing the decision as a major step forward for transgender rights. By not allowing Coy to use the girls’ restroom, the Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain ‘creates an environment rife with harassment,’ Steven Chavez, the division director, wrote in the decision.
Crossover Kids investigates the complex and fascinating world of transgender children. Backed by medical experts, a growing number of parents in the United States are allowing their kids to live openly as the other gender.
For the children involved, the switch can end years of unhappiness and feelings of being trapped in the wrong body. But like other members of the transgender community, they can face deep social stigma and discrimination.
How young is too young to change sex?