Transgender teen’s fight to use boy’s restroom moves forward

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) –  A Gloucester high school student’s fight moved to federal court in Norfolk Monday. The ACLU is representing transgender teenager Gavin Grimm. The ACLU is fighting for an injunction, asking the federal judge to grant Grimm permission to use the boy’s communal restroom at his Gloucester County High School while Grimm waits for the trial to start.

Grimm is a rising junior who was born a girl, but identifies as a boy. The Gloucester County School Board first granted him permission to use the boy’s restroom in 2014, but then in December of that year, reversed its decision, stating Grimm must use a communal bathroom that corresponds with the sex he was born with, or he can use one of three single-stall unisex restrooms.

“We want what existed before the policy, which is that Gavin is able to use the communal boy’s room the same as any other boy. And you don’t have a policy saying that he has to use a separate restroom because his mere presence in the boy’s room with other boys was somehow an inherent invasion of privacy,” ACLU attorney Joshua Block told WAVY.com outside federal court. That is the argument Block will take when the case heads to trial.

Monday, however, Block simply wanted an injunction allowing Gavin Grimm to use the boy’s restroom while he awaits trial.

“I use the male’s restroom in any other public facility and I’ve never had a problem doing so,” Grimm told WAVY.com. Block argued that not being able to use the boy’s communal school bathroom has immediate negative mental health effects on Grimm.

“We continue to think that it is imperative that Gavin be able to get equal treatment as soon as he can. We don’t want to spend a day longer under this policy than he has to,” Block said. He also said Grimm has ignored the urge to go the bathroom due to the shame he feels for not being able to use the boy’s bathroom, and that Grimm has developed urinary tract infections as a result.

“It increased the amount of anxiety I have. It created a challenge I never dreamed I would ever have. And for me it was deeply stigmatizing and deeply upsetting,” Grimm told WAVY.com after the injunction hearing.

Judge Doumar did not rule on the injunction during the hearing, saying he needed to take time to decide, but he did say he is inclined to throw out the defense’s motion to dismiss the case. He says he believes the case should be heard. However, interestingly, he did say that Block could not use Title IX to argue his point. Title IX is a federal policy that states schools will not receive federal funding if they discriminate based on sex.

There is no timetable for when Judge Doumar will rule on the injunction or when the trial will officially start.

More information about this case is available at: https://www.aclu.org/cases/gg-v-gloucester-county-school-board

Check back on WAVY.com for updates as this story continues to develop.

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