Today, the Colorado Human Rights Division got the transgender bathroom thing right in the Coy Mathis case. “This is the first ruling in the nation that holds that transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms that match who they are. There are thousands of families like the Mathises who are feeling relieved and vindicated that the commission ruled that Coy is a girl just like any other girl,” said Michael D. Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.

How can I tell you how this feels, how my eyes begin to well with salty tears at the thought of being aloud to grow up in a world that matched who I am? I cannot fully explain, not really, because I was not aloud to be in that world. I have never lived in a world of acceptance and affirmation. And perhaps none of us have. But I suspect that some of us grew up with more rejection and fear than others, and bear deeper scars and wounds for having survived the battles – mostly waged within.

I want to tell you, but I struggle with the words. I am reminded from my own recovery experience to tell you just that – my experience. I always wanted to use the girls bathroom, and not for some prurient interest either. Six year olds do not have prurient interest, do they? I did not. But, I could not tell you about the bathroom. I wanted to wear a dress, but I could not tell you. I wanted to smell the pretty lotions and potions and such, but I could not tell you. So many things I could not tell, that come trickling back to me slowly, like a leaky faucet dripping secrets I had all but forgotten. I was afraid that you would not like me. You would not approve. You would not let me be. You would hurt me. So, I could not tell you about the daily battle inside my head that seemed to never end or go away. So, I hid it and I hid it well.

We are as sick as our secrets, it seems, and I became mightily ill. I hid myself away and swished it all around in booze, perhaps to wash myself away. But in hiding and drinking I could never come clean. And now a brave little girl shall lead us. She is showing us how to tell, to be. I want to wear a dress. I want the pretty things. I stubbornly must be.

Coy Mathis has a family who allows her to be authentic. I have tried to express what it was like for me in an effort to describe what, perhaps, it means for this child to have this chance. I do not know what Coy will be, but, I suspect that she will not grow up enmeshed in fear, uncertainty, doubt, guilt, shame and ambiguity about something as fundamental as self. She has no doubt, no fear. She has a family, and now a tribunal that will support her. Perhaps someday soon, the rest of us shall follow where this child leads.


  1. Danny says:

    Ya know Bobbie the more I get to know you and the more you share…I like you just as you are ! I don’t know you as anyone but the pretty lady I have come to admire ! I am Gay, I am a Man and I like men…But knowing you has enriched me so much and put a personal face one the Transgender experience…What matters most in this lifetime is we Love & Respect ourselves for who we are and only then can we truly have an impact on the world around us.. You have done just that impacted those around you. I remember watching You and those against the Helena Ordanance…and thinking to myself ” This Lady has some real class ” I admire You and repect you and wish you all the best life has to offer…Thank You for being the human being you are and perhaps some kid can come to know you and your experience and be able to break out and be the “Whole Person ” He or She needs to be and have a fulfilling rich life instead of feeling repressed and wanting to ” Erase Themselves ” you give me strength to be a Gay Man in Montana and feel like I too have a right to be who I am ! Bless You and I hope to get to know you more as time goes on !


  2. Thank you, Danny. It makes all the difference. 🙂


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