‘Incredible Victory’ for Trans Rights: Supreme Court Rejects School Bathroom Case

In what civil rights advocates hailed as “an incredible victory,” the United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of Gavin Grimm, a former Virginia high school student who in 2015 sued his county board of education over its policy of denying transgender pupils use of restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

“Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials.”
—Gavin Grimm, plaintiff

The high court’s move lets stand G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a 2020 ruling in which the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that policies segregating transgender students from their peers are unconstitutional.

Specifically, Grimm—who was represented by the ACLU and ACLU of Virginia—successfully argued that the school board’s discriminatory policy violated Title IX, the federal law barring discrimination on the basis of sex in education.

Grimm’s legal battle began when, as a 15-year-old Gloucester High School sophomore in 2015, he sued the county school board. Earlier that year, the Obama administration’s Department of Education issued guidance stating that “a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.”

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed Grimm’s case. He appealed, and in April 2016 the Fourth Circuit ruled in his favor.

However, the Supreme Court subsequently blocked an order allowing Grimm to use restrooms matching his gender identity, with the justices announcing in October 2016 that they would review the Fourth Circuit ruling.

Following the election of former President Donald Trump—whose Education Department reversed the Obama-era guidance—the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit, which, after last year’s landmark Bostock v. Clayton County SCOTUS decision, ruled in favor of Grimm.

Grimm welcomed the Supreme Court’s move on Monday.

“I am glad that my yearslong fight to have my school see me for who I am is over,” he said in a statement. “Being forced to use the nurse’s room, a private bathroom, and the girl’s room was humiliating for me, and having to go to out-of-the-way bathrooms severely interfered with my education.”

“Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials,” Grimm asserted.

Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that “this is the third time in recent years that the Supreme Court has allowed appeals court decisions in support of transgender students to stand.”

“This is an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country,” Block added. “Our work is not yet done, and the ACLU is continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country.”

According to the LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD, there are scores of Republican-sponsored bills under consideration in a majority of U.S. states targeting the rights of transgender students. Numerous states have already passed laws or implemented executive orders erasing or limiting

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Supreme Court pass on transgender bathroom case frustrates conservatives

The Supreme Court took a pass Monday on a legal challenge over shared restrooms for transgender students at a Virginia high school, fueling frustration among right-tilting court-watchers eager for the conservative majority to resolve the intensifying legal clash over gender identity.

The court’s denial of certiorari allowed the lower court ruling to stand in favor of Gavin Grimm, a transgender male — a biological female identifying as a male — who sued the Gloucester County School Board for barring him from using the boys’ restroom, marking the third time the high court has refused to take up transgender access to public school facilities.

Josh Block, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union LGBTQ & HIV Project, said that in each of the cases, the appeals courts ruled in favor of transgender students seeking to use restrooms and other facilities based on their gender identity as opposed to their sex at birth.

“This an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country,” Mr. Block said in a statement. “Our work is not yet done, and the ACLU is continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country.”

Indeed, the court’s silence on gender identity discrimination since its 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia — which centered on employment — has created a legal void quickly being filled by conflicting rules from the Biden administration and red-state legislatures on transgender athletes and access to gender transition procedures and public facilities.

“Clearly, there’s a huge split in the country,” said Emilie Kao, director of The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society. “There have been over 100 bills brought in the state legislatures to protect privacy, safety and fairness by using biological sex as the basis for policies in schools.”

Litigation has inevitably followed, leading legal analysts to agree that it’s not a matter of if the court will revisit the gender identity issue, but when.

“I’m somewhat optimistic that the court will take a case that raises the issue in the next year or so,” said Gail Heriot, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Mr. Grimm sued in June 2015 after the school board refused to let him use the boys’ facilities, instead offering him a private restroom, which he said was stigmatizing. 

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Mr. Grimm, now 22, reasoning that the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Bostock justified striking down the Gloucester County school system’s policy. 

Critics countered that Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion in Bostock, specifically said the decision applied only to Title VII, not to “sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, and dress codes.” He said the justices “do not prejudge any such question today.”

“[Gorsuch] said this only applies to Title VII on employment; this doesn’t apply to Title IX on bathrooms and sports, but obviously courts are applying it that way, the Biden administration is applying

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Supreme Court refuses to hear transgender bathroom case, a win for student Gavin Grimm

The Supreme Court on Monday handed the LGBT rights movement another victory, declining to hear an appeal that challenged the rights of transgender students to use the bathroom of their choosing.

The high court said it would not take a case involving Gavin Grimm and the school board of Gloucester County, Virginia. That board had refused Grimm the choice to use a boys bathroom in his school in a policy that also applied to other transgender students.

Grimm was born female but began identifying as male after his high school freshman year.

Activist Gavin Grimm arrives for the Time 100 Gala in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S. April 25, 2017.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Grimm’s right to use a boys bathroom was upheld in rulings by lower federal courts, which had ruled that he was protected by a federal law that bars school programs from discriminating against students on the basis of their sex.

Two of the Supreme Court’s more conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said they would have heard the case, according to the order released Monday.

The use of bathrooms by transgender students and the acceptance of such students on school athletic teams has become a flashpoint for conservatives in recent years.

“This is a victory for transgender students, who simply want to be themselves without worrying about being rejected or refused access to basic dignities,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO GLADD, a leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy group.

Medical and educational authorities all agree that transgender young people must be allowed to belong, learn, grow, and succeed as their authentic selves, just like any other child,” Ellis said. “Our schools and our society are safer and offer more opportunity for all when all are welcome. Our country and community are stronger thanks to Gavin Grimm’s courage and his fight for all kids to be included, valued and protected.” 

The ruling in Grimm’s favor comes a year after the Supreme Court ruled that federal civil rights law bars employers from discriminating against people because of how they identify their gender.

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The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Grimm, said Monday’s ruling “is the third time in recent years that SCOTUS [the Supreme Court of the United States] has allowed appeals court decisions in support of trans students to remain.”

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Supreme Court gives victory to transgender student who sued to use bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity

The case concerns the scope of Title IX that prohibits schools from discriminating “on the basis of sex.” It began when Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who was then a high-school student, challenged the local school board’s decision to require him to use either a unisex restroom or a restroom that corresponds to the sex, female, he was assigned at birth.

Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said they would have taken up the case for next term.

“I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over. Being forced to use the nurse’s room, a private bathroom, and the girl’s room was humiliating for me, and having to go to out-of-the-way bathrooms severely interfered with my education,” Grimm — who has since graduated — said in a statement Monday.

“Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials,” he added.

The court’s decision not to review an opinion by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals means that public school students in the mid-Atlantic states covered by the 4th Circuit, as well as states governed by the 7th Circuit and the 11th Circuit, can use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. The issue is unsettled in other states and another appeal could conceivably make its way back to the Supreme Court, although Grimm’s legal fight is over.

Grimm filed suit against the board in 2015, arguing that the school’s policy violated Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause. The Obama Justice Department filed a “statement of interest” accusing the board of violating Title IX. A federal appeals court deferred to the interpretation ruling in Grimm’s favor. The school board appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which agreed to take up the case.

Before the high court could rule, however, the Trump administration withdrew the Obama-era guidance, and the Supreme Court wiped away the decision by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals and sent the case back down for further proceedings. The case began again at the district court and ultimately the 4th Circuit again ruled in favor of Grimm, this time citing the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 2020 that held that federal employment law protects LGBTQ workers.
John Roberts is all business in his conservatism

Grimm began fighting the Gloucester County School Board’s policies when he was a sophomore at a Virginia high school in 2015. As part of Grimm’s medical treatment for severe gender dysphoria, Grimm and his mother notified school administrators of his male gender identity and received permission for Grimm to use the boys’ restroom for almost two months. But once the school board began receiving complaints, it adopted a new policy denying him access to the boys’ bathrooms.

In 2019, a federal judge in Virginia also ruled in favor of Grimm, telling the school board it must recognize him as male and saying the board had violated his constitutional rights. The judge awarded him one
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The One Thing Making Your Bathroom Feel Smaller, According to Home Stagers

Is your bathroom small… or does it just look that way? While bathrooms don’t exactly need to be massive, a bathroom that appears to be tiny can feel cramped, cluttered, and uncomfortable. Considering all the time people spend in a bathroom during their lifetimes, upgrading your bathroom’s appearance is a worthwhile investment.

Though there are a few things that can make your bathroom feel smaller, the number one offender is usually an undersized bathroom mirror. A looking glass that’s too much small will shrink how big the space looks.

Luckily, updating your bathroom mirror isn’t a herculean task, though you will have to get very familiar with a tape measure. Check out these surprising insights about bathroom mirrors from the experts who know how to make them look their best: professional home stagers. 

Of course bathroom mirrors are a key decor element, but they should also be functional. Sadie Ward of Ward Home Staging recommends that bathroom mirrors be sized and hung to cater to those who will be using them most. 

“The height that you should hang your mirror depends on who’s using it,” she says. “The average woman is 5’5’’ and the average man is 5’10’’, so you can use that as a guideline.” 

If you and your partner have a significant height difference, a larger mirror would be best. That way, you’ll both be able to use the mirror for makeup, shaving, and figuring out your best selfie angles. Better yet, a larger mirror can brighten up a darker bathroom, especially if it faces a window or light-colored wall. 

Check the Reflection in the Mirror

Angela Arnold of Elephant Home Staging knows that even if you choose an awe-inspiringly gorgeous mirror, your job is only half-way done. 

“Mirrors are powerful when used correctly in any space. “The key to using mirrors correctly is to never forget that they become what they reflect,” Arnold says. In smaller bathrooms, this can mean investing in a well-designed shower curtain or piece of artwork — anything that adds a bit of depth to the room will work. 

“When choosing where to place the mirror, consider the goals and current challenges of the space,” she adds. When you’re trying to maximize a bathroom’s perceived size, your number one goal should be to remove anything that makes it look smaller (aka that minuscule mirror that’s been there since you moved in.).

Davina Hughes of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate suggests opting for an oversized mirror in your bathroom. “One of my favorite things to tell my clients is ‘don’t be afraid to go bigger.’ This is true for a lot of spaces, but especially in a small bathroom,” she says.  “When choosing a bathroom mirror, it’s important to work with the entire space above the vanity. That space is your canvas.” 

Hughes recommends finding a mirror and a light fixture to fill the space above your vanity. If your bathroom is smaller, you can still use large mirrors and standout light fixtures

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