More than 150 students at Hillsboro High School in Missouri participated in a walkout at school yesterday to protest a fellow transgender student’s request to use the girl’s locker room during gym class.
The walkout came in response to heated debate during a school board meeting last week, where parents expressed their outrage over the simple request.
Lila Perry, the senior at the center of the debate, told KMOV that she’s identified as female since age 13, and came out to fellow classmates last year. She’s taking a gym class this year, during which she assumed she’d rightfully be using the girl’s locker room.
“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,” she told reporters during the protest, flanked by about 30-40 students who are supporting her.
Student protesters refused to acknowledge that Perry is female. Parents who complained to the school board suggested that Perry is using her gender identity as a ruse to gain access to the girl’s locker room so she can prey on fellow students.
A man who claims he has relatives at the school was standing nearby. “Boys needs 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,” he said.
Hillsboro High officials reportedly offered Perry a private, “gender-neutral” restroom to use but she declined, opting to drop the class altogether instead. “I wasn’t hurting anyone and I didn’t want to feel segregated out,” she said. “I am girl, I shouldn’t be pushed off to another bathroom.”