Students protest as Missouri school allows transgender teen to use facilities for girls

Transgender Lila Perry, 17, was born a boy but identifies himself as a girl. The teen has been allowed to use the facilities reserved for female students in Hillsboro High School in Missouri.(Facebook/Lila Perry community page)

Students at a Missouri high school are protesting the privileges granted to a male student who identifies himself as a transgender woman to use the girls' locker room and toilets.

About 150 walked out of their classes at the Hillsboro High School on Monday after the school gave the go-signal to 17-year-old Lila Perry, who was born a boy but identifies himself as a girl, to use the facilities reserved for female students in the school.

Perry said he started having female inclinations at age 13, according to Christian News Network.

Before the school allowed Perry to use the girls' restroom, he had been using a faculty unisex restroom.

He also used the girls' locker room in gym class but dropped out of physical education when it upset girls who had to change clothes with Perry.

"There's a lot of ignorance, they are claiming that they're uncomfortable. I don't believe for a second that they are. I think this is pure and simple bigotry," Perry told KMOV in St. Louis.

"Boys need to have their own locker room. Girls need to have their own locker room, and if somebody has mixed feelings where they are, they need to have their own also," said protester Jeff Childs.

Perry said the school offered him a gender-neutral restroom which he turned down.

"I wasn't hurting anyone and I didn't want to feel segregated out. I didn't want to be in the gender neutral bathroom. I am girl, I shouldn't be pushed off to another bathroom," said Perry.

A school board meeting was held last week to discuss Perry's situation.

Some parents asked if this was an act by Perry to get into the girls' restroom, but a gender therapist said this is not true.

"That's really important for many people to know and parents to know, that a person does not choose this, they really don't. They know it very early on and are in a great deal of pain," said Patricia Berne.

Lawyer Derrick Good, who has two daughters at Hillsboro High School, is working with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on a policy to require students and faculty to use restrooms based on their birth gender.

"They should have the ability to do whatever they need to do in the privacy of the bathroom without having a male in there," Good told TV station KTVI. "They have a right to their own bodily privacy, and I've raised my girls, and many of these parents have raised their girls, to protect that privacy. They don't share that with members of the opposite sex."

The school district said it "respects the rights of all students and appreciates the fact that the students we are educating are willing to stand on their belief system and to support their cause/beliefs through their expression of free speech."