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Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board

Gavin+Grimm+at+a+rally+outside+the+White+House+in+February.
Gavin Grimm at a rally outside the White House in February.

Gavin Grimm at a rally outside the White House in February.

Al Drago, New York Times

Al Drago, New York Times

Gavin Grimm at a rally outside the White House in February.

Mattie Rosen, Web Editor

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Gavin Grimm is a senior at Gloucester High School in Gloucester County, Virginia. Gavin is a transgender male, which means he was assigned the sex of female at birth, but since then has transitioned to male. Although he has been taking hormones, Grimm has not undergone any gender reassignment surgery, which leads to problems some transgender adolescents are forced to face. In this case, Gavin Grimm is being denied the right to use the communal boys’ restroom at his school.

“The policy segregates transgender students into ‘alternative private’ restrooms, instead of allowing their use of communal restrooms.”

Towards the beginning of his transition, Gavin and his mother notified the school’s faculty about his transition; the school granted Grimm permission to use the boys’ restroom for about 2 months without any issues. However, following this 2-month period, parents and residents of Gloucester County filed complaints, which led the school board to adopt the “alternative private restroom” policy on December 9, 2014. The policy segregates transgender students into “alternative private” restrooms, instead of allowing their use of communal restrooms. Grimm told NPR’s “All Things Considered” that he had to walk all the way to the nurse’s office to use the secluded “unisex” restroom.

According to the case updates from the American Civil Liberties Union website, Gavin Grimm filed a preliminary injunction (a court order made early on in a lawsuit to prohibit the parties from doing anything to preserve the existing state of affairs until a pending ruling or outcome) under violation of both the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX of the US Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination by schools. His motion to be able to use the boys’ restroom during his 2015-2016 school year was denied by the District Court. That decision was appealed before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the lower court’s decision was overturned in August, 2016.

“Gavin Grimm filed a preliminary injunction under violation of both the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX of the US Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination by schools.”

Gloucester County School Board petitioned for a Writ of Certiorari (an order by a higher court, stating that they will review the decision and proceedings in a lower court to determine any irregularities) to the Supreme Court of the United States, and initially, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on March 28. However, last month, the Trump administration announced a change in policy, shifting authority on transgender issues from the federal government to individual, state governments. The lower court had relied, in part, on an earlier version of that policy for the Supreme Court to hear Grimm’s case.

The Supreme Court announced that it is sending Gavin’s case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be reconsidered in light of the Departments of Justice and Education overruling of a Title IX guidance clarifying protections for transgender students.

Grimm told MSNBC on Monday that he was “disappointed” that the Supreme Court would not take up the case, but that he will keep fighting for the rights of transgender people to exist in public spaces.

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