Current Affairs

Court rules that trans people have a right to pee in peace despite wave of ‘bathroom bills’

Nick Duffy April 20, 2016
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A federal court has struck a blow against a wave of laws aimed at ‘banning’ transgender people from their preferred bathrooms.

Hardline Republicans are using trans bathroom rights as a ‘wedge issue’ to attack LGBT rights across the US, with a number of ‘bathroom bills’ aiming to stop trans people from using their preferred toilet.

Many of the bills also conveniently contain provisions to block LGBT rights protections, allowing people to discriminate on the grounds of religion. Lawmakers in North Carolina and Mississippi both used ‘bathroom’ issues to push through broad anti-LGBT legislation.

However, a federal court has this week struck a blow against the plans, in a case surrounding bathroom provisions.

Virginian teen Gavin Grimm had sued the Gloucester County School Board after he was ordered to use a toilet that correspond with his “biological gender”.

His lawsuit contends: “Using the girls’ restroom is not possible for Gavin. Even before he began treatment for Gender Dysphoria, girls and women who encountered Gavin in female restrooms reacted negatively because they perceived Gavin to be a boy.

“For example, when Gavin was in eighth and ninth grade, girls would tell him ‘this is the girls’ room’ and tell him to leave.”

However, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the decision had violated Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, setting precedent on the issue.

The decision could sound the death knell for North Carolina’s HB2, as any legal challenge surrounding the law would also go to the Fourth Circuit for a judgement.

Judge Henry Floyd affirmed that “in the case of a transgender individual using a sex-segregated facility, the individual’s sex as male or female is to be generally determined by reference to the student’s gender identity” – resolving “ambiguity” on the issue.

Gail Deady of ACLU Virginia said: “Gavin’s fight has been a beacon of hope in the face of increasingly hostile rhetoric against transgender people in Virginia, and across the nation.

“The court’s ruling sends a strong message to schools and lawmakers that discriminatory restroom policies don’t just harm transgender students, they put Title IX funding at risk.”

More: bill, gender, Law, LGBT, Teen, teenager, Trans, Transgender, US

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