‘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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Nashville DA will not enforce trans bathroom signage bill in Tennessee

Nashville’s top prosecutor will stand against the state legislature and refuse to enforce what he calls “hate” under a new Tennessee law on bathroom access for transgender people. 

Gov. Bill Lee last week signed a bill making Tennessee the first state to require businesses and government facilities open to the public to post a sign if they let transgender people use multiperson bathrooms, locker rooms or changing rooms associated with their gender identity.

Opponents of the law call the bill discriminatory. LGBTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign said the signs would be “offensive and humiliating.”

“I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville. Enforcement of transphobic or homophobic laws is contrary to those values,” District Attorney General Glenn Funk said in a statement Monday. “My office will not promote hate.”

The required sign outside the public bathroom or other facility would say: “This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom.”

RELATED: ‘Looking to erase us’: Tennessee parents, advocates criticize Gov. Lee for anti-LGBTQ bills

MORE: ‘Why do they hate us so much?’: Frustration grows among transgender Tennesseans as bills targeting youth advance

It remains unclear how anyone would enforce the law. The bill does not include details on mandatory fines or penalties. But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the law carries criminal penalties. 

RELATED: Tennessee bill mandating bathroom signs called ‘humiliating’ for transgender people

Nashville Mayor John Cooper also decried the bill, questioning last week the economic impact of the state taking a strong anti-trans stance. 

“This law is part of an anti-LGBT political platform of hate and division. One of the risks for Nashville is that the hostility inherent to these signs can be the equivalent of hanging up another sign — a ‘do not come here’ sign,” Cooper said in a statement. “We are an inclusive city, and that won’t change. But, unfortunately, we will be made vulnerable economically by this unwelcoming legislation.”

Lee, who in the past has had “concerns about business mandates,” demurred on Monday afternoon when asked whether Funk’s statement was appropriate.

“His decision will be his own,” Lee told reporters. “I signed the law and it’ll be his decision how he wants to respond to it.”

This is not the first time Funk has taken a stance against a conservative push from the state legislature. 

Last fall, he sided with reproductive rights advocates and abortion providers when they sued the state over a slate of strict anti-abortion laws passed last summer by Republicans. 

Funk and other local prosecutors were named as defendants because of their roles prosecuting criminal cases. Multiple court cases over the laws continue in federal court. 

“With regard to reproductive issues, the criminal law must not be used by the State to exercise control over a woman’s body,” Funk, a Democrat, wrote in a September filing, saying he “will not enforce” the law if it goes

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4th Circ. Won’t Rethink Trans Man’s Bathroom Access Win

Law360 (September 23, 2020, 7:44 PM EDT) — The Fourth Circuit won’t rethink a transgender man’s win in his landmark civil rights suit challenging his Virginia high school’s bathroom access policy, even though one judge found the case deserves a rehearing “under every applicable criterion.”

U.S. Circuit Judge Paul V. Niemeyer, who dissented from a three-judge panel’s August ruling, backed his colleagues’ decision not to take another swing at the case on Tuesday, but he said it was only because the Gloucester County School Board will have better odds at reversing its loss at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“There is no reason to conclude that this court, even though en…

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Progressive Conservative candidate dropped over trans bathroom meme

Roland Michaud, the New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives candidate for the state legislative assembly in Victoria-La Vallee

A Canadian Progressive Conservativess candidate has been roundly condemned and removed by his party over a Facebook meme encouraging violence against trans people in bathrooms.

Roland Michaud, the New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives candidate for the state legislative assembly in Victoria-La Vallee, was dropped after transphobic post surfaced just a week before the September 14 election.

A meme shared to Michaud’s personal Facebook page in 2018 said: “A man followed a young girl into a Target bathroom in Texas saying he self-identified as a woman.

“The man’s teeth were knocked out by the girl’s father, who says he self-identifies as the tooth fairy.”

Roland Michaud was dropped as the New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives candidate for the state legislative assembly in Victoria-La Vallee over his anti-trans post
Roland Michaud was dropped as the New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives candidate for the state legislative assembly in Victoria-La Vallee over his anti-trans post

Progressive Conservatives leader Blaine Higgs has pulled support from Michaud over the “offensive” meme.

While it is too late for him to be removed from the ballot, Higgs said that if elected, he would not be permitted into the party’s caucus — which currently holds 20 of the 49 seats in the legislative assembly.

He has called for Michaud to drop out of the race, making clear: “While I respect everyone’s right to have their own personal views, I cannot endorse the promotion of messaging that is clearly sexist, offensive, and hurtful to many people.

“I especially cannot accept anything that incites violence against any community and I certainly cannot endorse that form of a person seeking public office.”

According to Huddle, he added: “I know some might think this is a risk – asking a candidate to withdraw so close to election day. We are in a minority government. It’s no secret I’m in a vulnerable situation.

“I am trying to win a majority, and clearly every seat counts. But I’ve never shied away from doing what’s right – even if it hurts me politically. That’s not my way.”

Roland Michaud says he’s sorry but won’t withdraw from race.

In a video posted to his Facebook page, Michaud insisted he had “not withdrawn from the race” and “will still be on the ballot” ahead of the election on September 14.

He insisted: “I’m a blue collar ordinary guy just like you, and ordinary people make mistakes. I’ve admitted to that and I’ve apologised. I’m only human, just like you.

“I’m asking you to give me a chance, give me a chance to prove that it won’t happen again. I’m still on the ballot for Victoria-La Vallee, and I can still be the voice that you folks need, so give me the opportunity to prove to you who I am.”

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