Exclusive: Parents Publicly Fight for the Rights of Their 6-Year-Old Transgender Daughter

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Danette Kalb

Coy Mathis was just 18-months old when her parents noticed that she was starting to identify more as a girl than a boy. “When Coy was little, everything was girly. She liked to wear dressed, she liked to dress up.” her dad says. “When she started asking us when we were going to get the doctor to cut her penis off," adds her mom, “that was when it became a problem and we reassured her we would do everything we could so that she would be happy as an adult.”

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When Coy turned 6-years-old in 2013, her family entered a lawsuit against Coy’s school after the principal refused to let her use the girl’s bathroom. The school used male pronouns to discuss Coy’s gender in their explanation of the situation. Coy’s family soon entered a media frenzy in order to combat their daughter’s school and to further transgender rights for young people.

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Directed by Eric Juhola and produced by Jeremy Stulberg, Growing Up Coy follows the family's legal battle and eventual win. Coy's case is one of the first in the nation that specifically addresses transgender bathroom rights. The Colorado Civil Rights Division eventually ruled in favor for the Mathis family’s discrimination case against Coy’s school district and their case is widely considered a landmark.

Coy’s onscreen journey is a provocative, enlightening, and difficult one. “We don’t want her to look back and see that we didn’t stand up for her,” says Coy’s mom, “even if she disliked that we put her in the public, she could at least say my parent’s stood up for me and alway supported me."

Watch the trailer for Growing Up Coy below:

The world premiere of Growing Up Coy will be in New York during the Human Rights Film Festival on Thursday June 16 at IFC Center & Friday, June 17 at Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater. Tickets and more info can be found here.

The film will have its West Coast premiere at Frameline40 in San Francisco on Saturday, June 25. Tickets and more info can be found here.

Stay up to date with Growing Up Coy via Facebook.

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