Lila Perry just wanted to change in the locker room after gym class, she had no idea the issues it would cause. Perry, a transgender senior at Missouri’s Hillsboro High School, has dropped gym class in response to over 100 students protesting her use of the girls locker room. The students staged a walkout on Monday August 31 and a school board meeting was held addressing the bathroom and locker room rules for trans students.
“With using the staff bathroom, I felt like I was being segregated off,” Perry told KTVI, “Here are the boys, here are the girls, this is me. And I didn’t like that. I wanted to blend in with all the other girls.”
One year ago I was worrying about finding a boyfriend and now I’m on national news and fighting for transgender rights…life is so crazy!
— Lila Perry (@transwitchcraft) September 2, 2015
Protesters claimed to be concerned about the privacy rights of the female students. One parent protester held a sign saying “Girls Rights Matter.” Perry said the school administrators have been respectful and helpful to her and allowed her to use the girls facilities. If the policy changes and the school forces Perry to use to male facilities, they could be in trouble with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. The U.S. DOE Office of Civil Rights said, in 2014, that denying a transgender person access to the bathroom or locker room of their choice is illegal sex discrimination.
“Young people, including trans and gender non conforming young people, have the right to education with dignity and equity. We are here to show Lila and other trans students around the state of Missouri and around the county that we lift them up when others might try to bring them down” read a Missouri Gay Straight Alliance Network statement. The Missouri GSA will rally at the school on Friday in support of Perry.