FLORENCE, Colo. — A transgender student and high school girls are at odds over sharing the same bathroom. Florence High School students say they’re uncomfortable sharing their bathrooms with a transgender classmate.
According to Colorado Civil Rights Commission, “transgender” means having a gender identity that differs from societal expectations. That is where the issue lies. Parents and students say they expect men to use the men’s room and women to use the ladies room. It’s that simple they say, but for the transgender population, that choice isn’t so simple.
More than 950 students go to Florence High School. Like any high school, there’s no shortage of gossip.
“The whole school is talking about it,” said Florence High School senior Kayli Conway.
It being a male student who claims he’s transgender and wants to use the girls’ restroom.
“They’re kind of making it a bigger deal than it should be,” said Conway.
Conway says the gossip began at the start of the school year.
“I know that they’re trying to tell her that she can’t use the females restroom and I think that’s kind of wrong because she’s trying to be a girl,” she said.
Conway says teachers have asked her female classmates to use the faculty bathrooms, but she says there are different ways that they can fix the issue. Parents have a few ideas.
“If the teachers are willing to let the girls or the guys use the faculty bathroom, why aren’t they willing to let this person use the faculty bathroom?” asked parent Juan Chavez.
“We just need to come up with a simple solution. There’s plenty of restrooms I believe in the building to do that,” said parent Vanette Benesch.
This isn’t the first time a southern Colorado school has been at odds with a transgender student’s request to use a girl’s restroom. In a case that gained national attention, Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain refused to let 6-year-old Coy Mathis use the girl’s restroom.
Mathis’ parents took the issue to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, which ruled that any effort by Eagleside staff to bar Mathis’ access to restrooms had to be classified as discrimination.
According to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, there’s nothing prohibiting segregation of facilities on the basis of gender. For more information click here.
Meanwhile, students and parents at Florence seem to agree the issue boils down to privacy that they say every student deserves.
“Be equals instead of trying to keep someone away,” said Chavez.
“We can accommodate all of our children in this school,” said Benesch.