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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Ethiopia’s upper house rules Tigray regional vote unconstitutional

By Giulia Paravicini



a man in a suit sitting at a table: EthiopiaÕs Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses the legislators on the current situation of the country inside the Parliament Buildings in Addis Ababa


© Reuters/TIKSA NEGERI
EthiopiaÕs Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses the legislators on the current situation of the country inside the Parliament Buildings in Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s upper house ruled on Saturday that plans by the Tigray region to hold an election on Sept. 9 were unconstitutional, setting up a potential clash between the central government and a powerful ethnic party.

The House of Federation, which rules over constitutional disputes, unanimously declared that the polls for regional parliament and other positions were “unconstitutional and are therefore void”, the body said in a statement.

Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which runs the northern province, told Reuters in a text message on Friday that the vote would go ahead despite pressure from the central government.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has liberalised the politics and economy of what was once one of the most tightly controlled countries in Africa since taking power in 2018.

But those reforms have also led to ethnic tension and occasional outbreaks of violence, as politicians in the provinces have asserted their authority against that of the central government.

The TPLF, one of the founding groups in a coalition of ethnic parties that has run the country since the 1990s, stayed out of a new unified ruling party formed under Abiy.

In March, Ethiopia postponed parliamentary and regional elections that had been scheduled for August, citing the coronavirus pandemic. A new date still has to be set.

The International Crisis Group think tank said last month that the Tigray administration and the central government were on a “collision course”. Abiy’s government would “consider any new regional administration illegitimate” if the election went ahead, the group said.

(Additional reporting by Kumerra Gemechu; Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Peter Graff)

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