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Obama administration backs transgender boy’s right to use men’s bathroom

Nick Duffy October 30, 2015

The Obama administration has spoken out in favour of a trans boy in Virginia – after he was banned from using male toilets.

16-year-old Gavin Grimm of Gloucester County High School in Virginia had found himself discriminated against last year – when his school board ordered him to stop using the male toilets.

Grimm and his family had taken legal action against the high school over the decision, claiming it was a violation of his rights to force him into the wrong bathroom.

The teen has this week earned powerful allies – as two federal government departments filed an amicus brief backing up the teen.

The Departments of Education and the Justice filed a strongly-worded 40-page brief, standing up for Grimm and the rights of trans teens across the country.

It says: “Denying a transgender boy access to the boys’ restroom is often much more than a mere inconvenience or limitation on his ability to use the restroom… it can be an effective denial of a restroom altogether.”

“The only other “option” made available to G.G. – using the girls’ restroom – is illusory.

“It is unrealistic to suggest that a student like G.G., who identifies and presents as a boy and whom the school treats as a boy in every other respect, could walk into a girls’ restroom without creating a situation that is disruptive to his female classmates and humiliating to him.

It continues: “As a result of such a policy, transgender students like G.G. are denied the ability to participate fully in and take advantage of their school’s educational programs.

“No one could reasonably expect a student to make it through an entire school day without access to a restroom; any student who attempted to do so would likely experience discomfort and anxiety affecting his ability to concentrate during class, further diminishing his educational experience.”

“Although [schools] may provide separate restrooms for boys and girls, when a school does so, it must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.”

Slamming the school’s logic, it adds: “To the extent GCSB claims to be concerned about other students’ safety, it has not provided any factual basis for concluding that G.G.’s use of the boys’ restroom poses a safety risk to any student.

“A school cannot deny a transgender boy educational opportunities based on a blanket and unfounded assumption that all transgender boys pose a danger to other boys in the restroom just by virtue of being transgender.”

Grimm’s case is set to be heard by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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