A transgender 6-year-old barred from her school’s bathrooms is both the subject of a lawsuit as well as media scrutiny, and the transgender kid’s unusually young age has been part of the reason this case has created such a stir.
When news of the transgender 6-year-old barred from bathrooms at school hit, reaction to it was largely indicative of how far we have come in the treatment of individuals not adhering to the gender binary in recent years — that is to say, far more acceptance was expressed for the child’s plight than may have been even a decade ago.
But Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly was largely unsympathetic to the transgender 6-year-old, and decried a Massachusetts initiative to address the issues transgender kids like Coy Mathis face on the February 26 edition of The O’Reilly Factor.
Per Media Matters, O’Reilly lashed out at transgender kids, suggesting that some may fake a transgender identity so they can sneak into same-sex dressing areas and other such shenanigans. Media Matters paraphrased the Fox host:
“O’Reilly called the directive ‘insane,’ suggesting that ‘wise guys’ would casually alter their gender identity in order to enter the locker rooms of the opposite sex. He went on to argue that that schools should be required to inform parents about their children’s ‘lifestyle’ choices.”
(As Slate recently noted, the DSM was changed in 2012 to reclassify transgender leanings as not a mental disorder, with APA member Jack Drescher objecting to “pathologiz[ing] all expressions of gender variance just because they were not common or made someone uncomfortable.”)
“This is truly madness, ladies and gentlemen. You’re telling me that a kid can go to a public school in Massachusetts, immediately upon entering the school take off the kid’s shirt and put on a dress, alright, go to the girls’ room when he’s a boy, and then change his name from John to Tiffany, and then after school, put the shirt back on, go home, and he’s still John.”
He added of transgender kids and fellow students:
“There’s a difference between a conversation and a lifestyle. That’s such a violation of parental rights by the state of Massachusetts. It’s off the chart violation… We don’t even want to get into the locker room situation here, okay? Because I know a lot of wise guys who would exploit this in a way that we’re not even going to talk about.”
Media Matters also quotes the directive from Massachusetts, which accounts for O’Reilly’s concerns:
“If a student’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior meets this standard, the only circumstance in which a school may question a student’s asserted gender identity is where school personnel have a credible basis for believing that the student’s gender-related identity is being asserted for some improper purpose.”
Coy, who lives in Colorado, is currently being homeschooled after the dispute with the school during which the transgender 6-year-old was barred from restrooms.