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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Court denies Gloucester School Board’s effort to appeal ruling declaring bathroom ban unconsitutional in Grimm case

GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — An effort by the Gloucester County School Board to appeal a ruling declaring its bathroom policy for transgender students unconstitutional has been denied.

Earlier this month, the school board filed a petition asking the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear its case against former student Gavin Grimm.

That request was denied, according to a tweet from the ACLU of Virginia.

“Discrimination against trans students is discrimination on the basis of sex and it’s illegal. Full stop,” the ACLU tweeted.

The school board announced Sept. 9 it had requested an en banc review in the Richmond-based United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The request would have meant the full circuit court of appeals — all the judges — would have heard the case and could potentially overturned the previous ruling by a three-judge panel.

The three-judge panel had ruled that the school division’s requirements that Grimm use restrooms for his biological sex, female, or private bathrooms violated his rights. Grimm began transitioning from female to male while at Gloucester High School. In 2016, as a senior in high school, he legally changed his sex to male via state court order and on his birth certificate.

The panel’s decision upheld a previous one from a federal judge in Norfolk. That judge ruled in 2019 that Grimm’s rights were violated under the Constitution’s equal protection clause as well as under Title IX, a federal civil rights law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.


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Gloucester School Board appeals recent ruling declaring bathroom ban unconstitutional in Gavin Grimm case

GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — In another development in a yearslong battle over bathroom rights for transgender students, the Gloucester County School Board has made an appeal in court over a ruling that said its transgender bathroom ban was unconstitutional.

The school board announced Wednesday it was appealing a previous court ruling that said the division had discriminated against a transgender male student, Gavin Grimm.

The board has requested an en banc review in the Richmond-based United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. That means the full circuit court of appeals — all the judges — could hear the case and could potentially overturn the previous ruling by a three-judge panel.

“We await that court’s further guidance,” the school wrote.

The last ruling, considered a victory for transgender rights advocates, as well as Grimm, was made late last month.

The panel determined that Gloucester’s requirement that Grimm use restrooms corresponding with his biological sex — the female bathrooms — or private bathrooms violated his rights when he was in school five years ago.

The three-judge panel with the appeals court wrote that the school board sent Grimm “to special bathrooms that might as well have said ‘Gavin’ on the sign.”

The panel’s decision upheld a previous one from a federal judge in Norfolk. That judge ruled in 2019 that Grimm’s rights were violated under the Constitution’s equal protection clause as well as under Title IX, a federal civil rights law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Grimm began transitioning from female to male while attending school at Gloucester High School.

He has chest reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy. In 2016, as a senior in high school, he legally changed his sex to male via state court order and on his birth certificate.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates.


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