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Documentary Growing Up Coy to tour in 'bathroom bill' states

The groundbreaking 2017 documentary followed 6-year-old Coy Mathis as she fought to use the girl's bathroom in her elementary school

Documentary Growing Up Coy to tour in 'bathroom bill' states
Coy Mathis and her family. (Photo courtesy of Eric Juhola)

Last month, it was announced that the United States Department of Education will no longer hear cases about transgender students’ struggles to use the bathroom that correlates with their gender identity. This issue, one of ‘bathroom bills,’ mostly affects transgender people in conservative states like North Carolina, Texas, and Alabama.

But director Eric Juhola is seeking to change the minds of conservatives in those states with a free screening tour of his documentary, Growing Up Coy.

The Film

Growing Up Coy, which is also available on Netflix, follows the story of Coy Mathis, a 6-year-old trans girl who was banned from using the girl’s bathroom in her Colorado elementary school. Coy’s story became America’s first landmark case on the topic of transgender bathroom rights.

Coy Mathis

Coy Mathis (Photo courtesy of Danette Kalb)

The filmmakers followed the Mathis family for three years as they navigated the legal system and fought for their daughter’s right to use the bathroom she felt most comfortable in.

Released in 2017, the film won two awards and was listed as one of the year’s best documentaries by Thrillist.

The Tour

The Growing Up Coy: Transgender Rights Community Screening Tour Kickstarter campaign was started by Juhola to help pay for the travel fees, venue rentals, and other expenses associated with the tour.

The tour’s first stop was Texas, which happened last month. The crew visited Houston, Amarillo, El Paso, and McAllen to talk to youth, parents, teachers, and other community members about trans rights.

Next, the tour plans to visit Alabama and South Carolina.

Why It’s Important

‘Anti-transgender “bathroom bills” have now hit at least 30 states, which I find astounding and scary,’ Juhola tells GSN. ‘When I first met Coy Mathis in 2013, she was 6 years old and her family’s struggle in the courts were starting to bubble to the forefront (along with countless others across the country fighting for their bathroom rights).’

Eric Juhola

Director Eric Juhola

‘We’ve gotten so many heart-warming responses directly from trans folks and parents of trans children, who have told us the film makes them feel acknowledged and supported – especially in this time when our community is under attack. Even though we receive a lot of hateful feedback online, we’ve found that those on the fence have gained a better insight into the world of transgender kids after watching Growing Up Coy, and see how it educates, changing hearts and minds.’

‘After Trump’s recent declaration to remove protections for these children, we wanted to do more. We want this Kickstarter campaign to combat transphobia by taking the film on tour into divided communities, offering free screenings, resources and much-needed talk-back discussions. The more support we get with the campaign, the more “bathroom bill” states we can go to. We want these children and families to know they are not alone.’

Learn more about the Growing Up Coy Community Screening Tour in the video below.

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