A Pennsylvania student has said she won’t pass high school if she’s required to use locker rooms alongside peers who happen to identify as transgender.
Sigourney Coyle, who is starting her freshman year at Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, told the East Penn School Board at an Aug. 22 meeting that she’d sat out her middle school gym class following the Obama administration’s directive on transgender issues. Issued in May, that directive included language requiring public schools to allow trans students to use restrooms and public facilities that corresponded with their gender identity or risk losing federal funding.
“I am a woman, and I identify as a woman, and you can’t make me change in front of someone who I don’t identify with, who is physically male,” Coyle said at the meeting, according to video posted to Facebook by her mother, Aryn.
“Gym requires us to participate to pass high school and if I don’t change I am not allowed to participate to pass high school and if I don’t change I am not allowed to participate,” she continued in the clip, which can be found below. “So my options are to let myself be discriminated against or fail gym for not participating and not pass through high school, which would jeopardize my future.”
Noting that she feels “nothing against transgenders,” Coyle stressed that undressing in front of someone who is biologically male before marriage is simply a violation of her religious beliefs.
“I would just not like their rights to overrule my own,” she said. “We are equals.”
Aryn Coyle told The Morning Call that she was not aware of any actual transgender students in Sigourney’s gym class, but noted, “Although, how could you know?”
“A person who was biologically male could waltz into the bathroom. So she felt very exposed and at risk,” she said. In a video interview that accompanied the article, Aryn stated that she believed that trans students “deserve some sort of special accommodation,” but allowing them to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with the gender identity was “not the correct accommodation.”
Meanwhile, Emmaus High School officials have reportedly given Sigourney permission to take gym class over the summer instead of during the school year, a move that her mother deemed a “Band-Aid” on a much larger discussion.
Although Coyle’s case has drawn national attention, the East Penn School district issued a statement cited by BuzzFeed that said officials would continue to comply with the Obama administration’s directive.
The Huffington Post has reached out to Aryn Coyle for additional comment.