Growing Up Coy
Panorama | Documentaries
Eric Juhola’s documentary focuses on a legal battle with a six-year-old at its centre. When Coy Mathis, a transgender girl in small-town Colorado, is denied access to the school washroom that matches her gender; her parents make the difficult decision to go to the international media in an effort to protect their daughter. Unsurprisingly, the family is immediately attacked and labelled as child abusers for putting Coy in the spotlight. But the parents are steadfast: as Coy’s mom puts it, “Sending a little girl into a boys’ bathroom—that’s setting her up to being hurt.”
What would you do to fight for your child’s rights? Juhola explores just how far the Mathises will go, focusing his steady lens on the tensions that plague the family during their ordeal and shedding light on some of the aspects of gender identity that often go undiscussed. Coy’s case hits close to home: the same issue played out with the Vancouver School Board last year. And, in May, the federal Liberals introduced legislation that would extend legal and human rights protection to transgender people.
“Coy’s fight for equal rights is the focus of the documentary, but it’s the family’s willingness to allow Juhola into their turbulent lives that gives it the emotional heft… to connect with even the most conservative of viewers.”—Nigel M. Smith, Guardian