Federal court rules against transgender student looking to use boys’ restroom

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A Federal Court in Virginia has ruled against a transgender student looking to use the boys’ restrooms at Gloucester High School.

The judge said Gavin Grimm will need to use the unisex bathroom when classes start Tuesday.

DOCUMENT: Court Ruling 

Gavin Grimm’s case went to federal court in July. With the American Civil Liberties Union representing him, Grimm filed a lawsuit claiming sex discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The preliminary injunction filed at the same time would have allowed Grimm to use the men’s restroom until his case goes to trial. On Friday, a federal judge denied that preliminary injunction.

“I was disappointed that I was going to have to face another school year of discomfort and discrimination,” Grimm told WAVY.com over the phone. “But, you know, I’ve been in this battle and I’m in it for the long run. So I’m just looking toward the future for what happens next.”

The teen was born a girl but identifies as a boy. He says he only feels comfortable using the men’s room. The school board told him to use unisex facilities or the women’s bathroom in December 2014. Officials say restroom use was based on biology, not gender. Grimm said that made him very uncomfortable, and the ACLU sued on his behalf.

DOCUMENT: Preliminary Injunction 

After the announcement of the ruling Friday, the ACLU released the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed with the court’s decision and will appeal as quickly as possible to ensure that Gavin does not have to endure this harmful and stigmatizing policy a single day more than necessary,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney in the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project. “As a result of the decision, Gavin will have to start the school year under a demeaning and stigmatizing policy that relegates him to separate restrooms from his peers. We expect today’s decision to be reversed on appeal.”

Although the court refused to grant Gavin the injunction that would have let him use the boys’ restroom when school resumes, the court did not yet rule on whether to allow his claim under the Fourteenth Amendment to move forward.

The ACLU says it plans to appeal.

With permission from school administrators, Gavin used the boys’ restroom for almost two months at the beginning of his sophomore year without incident. But after receiving complaints from some parents and residents of Gloucester County, the school board adopted the new policy on December 9, 2014, by a vote of 6-1.


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