Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm.

Photo: ACLU

A federal court denied a dismissal motion from a school board in a case brought by former student Gavin Grimm, holding that Title IX and the U.S. Constitution protect transgender students from being excluded from common restrooms that align with their gender identity.

The court directed the parties to schedule a settlement conference within 30 days.

The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia.

Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said, “The district court’s ruling vindicates what Gavin has been saying from the beginning."

He continued, "Federal law protects Gavin and other students who are transgender from being stigmatized and excluded from using the same common restrooms that other boys and girls use. These sorts of discriminatory policies do nothing to protect privacy and only serve to harm and humiliate transgender students.”

Grimm said in a press statement, “I feel an incredible sense of relief. After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law."

Grimm continued, I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through.”

In 2014, the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia voted 6-1 in favor of a discriminatory bathroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers after Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, began using the boys restroom, with permission of school officials, that correspond with his gender identity.

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the Grimm case back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals following the Trump administration's decision to rescind protective school guidance for transgender students.

Because the 4th Circuit's original ruling was heavily based on the Obama administration's guidance, the Supreme Court asked the lower court to revisit the case and rule on the underlying statutory question regarding the scope of Title IX.

Many federal courts, including the court this week, have affirmed that Title IX and other federal nondiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination against transgender people including with respect to restroom access.

“No student should feel unsafe at school, regardless of gender identity. Transgender students are covered by Title IX and are entitled to the same rights and protections as every other student.,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. “With the Trump-Pence administration’s barrage of attacks on LGBTQ people in this country, including children, we are pleased that yet another federal court has reaffirmed legal rights and  dignity of transgender people.”

This decision reaffirms a 2016 ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District that held "a policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX."


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