“Growing Up Coy” is a feature-length documentary that centers around a young Colorado family who engages in a highly publicized legal battle and landmark civil rights case, as they fight for their 6-year-old transgender daughter Coy Mathis’s right to use the girls’ bathroom at her school. The Mathis family’s case in 2013, was the first in the United States to decide in favor of a transgender youth using the bathroom facility that corresponds with their gender identity. The film asks a universal question that any parent could face: “How far would you go to fight for your child’s equal rights?”
Summary info for schedule – will be hidden on film page
Growing Up Coy
Growing Up Coy
Three and a half years ago, before “trans was trending” and Caitlyn Jenner was Cait, I flew from New York to Colorado to meet a 6-year- old transgender girl after meeting her family’s attorney in New York. This 6-year-old’s parents were about to embark on a years- long battle with her elementary school for banning her from the girls’ bathroom.
Like most LGBTQ children of the 80’s and 90’s, I couldn’t imagine having publicly supportive parents at such a young age. Meeting Jeremy and Kathryn Mathis, I realized we were at the beginning of a cultural shift – where for the first time in history, parents are starting to come out in support of their young trans kids, allowing them to express their gender identity openly.
However, with young children, the nurturing of gender non-conformity remains controversial. Even after 2015’s year of mainstream transgender visibility, “Growing Up Coy” raises many questions about what it means to grow up transgender in America today, and how one family deals with world-wide media scrutiny while fighting for their transgender daughter’s right to use the girl’s bathroom at her elementary school in a landmark civil rights case.
An estimated 0.1 to 0.5% of the population is transgender (or experience some degree of gender dysphoria). Though this is a relatively small percentage of the population, suicide and harassment statistics from within the transgender community are staggering.
These numbers demonstrate the need for education, support, and help for these kids and their families. “Transgender youth rights” is an emerging civil and human rights area, and has been little explored in mainstream culture until recently.
Coy’s case has garnered media attention from all over the world, spotlighting the issue. In light of the recent vitriolic dialogue in our country, I am hopeful that this film helps to create a new opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas between parents and school communities that may not know how to proceed when they are introduced to their first transgender students.
I also hope that the film will highlight the sacrifice made by ordinary
people who take a stand for the rights of all of us in the LGBTQ population. For that, I think Coy & her family, as well those who put themselves in the public eye to stand for equal rights, have put us all in a debt of gratitude.