By Andrew Rafferty, Staff Writer, NBC News
Brennan Linsley / AP file
With her face reflected in a mirror, Coy Mathis, left, a transgender girl, plays with her sister, Auri, 2, center, at their home in Fountain, Colo., on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. Coy’s parents are suing the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 after she was denied access to a girl’s bathroom at her elementary school.
A transgender 6-year-old who identifies as a female should be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom at her elementary school even though she was born a male, the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled on Sunday
In a decision being hailed as a major victory by advocates for transgender Americans, the division concluded that the Fountain-Fort Carson School District created an unnecessarily hostile situation for Coy Mathis when it made the female bathroom off limits.
By not allowing Coy to use the girls’ restroom, the school “creates an environment rife with harassment,” Steven Chavez, the division director, wrote in the decision.
The school district, about 15 miles south of Colorado Springs, Colo., also showed “a lack of understanding of the complexity of transgender issues” by referring to Coy as a male or using quotes around “her” throughout the litigation, Chavez wrote.
The school district could not be reached for comment on the ruling Sunday.
Coy was born a male, but began at an early age to identify as a girl through toys and dress and started calling herself a girl between the ages of 4 and 6, according to the summary of the division’s ruling.