The teen at the centre of a lawsuit around trans rights has slammed President Trump’s administration as he appeared before the US Congress.
In early March it was announced that the Supreme Court would not go ahead with a planned hearing on transgender rights, in light of the Trump administration’s removal of key protections.
The highest court in the US had been set to hear the case of Virginian trans teen Gavin Grimm, whose school ordered him to use a toilet that correspond with his “biological gender”.
Grimm is suing the Gloucester County School Board with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, arguing that the policy violated his right to freedom from discrimination.
The teen appeared at the US Congress today, taking aim at President Trump, and his administration, for a policy which rolled back guidance in favour of trans teens introduced under the Obama administration.
Invited by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Grimm said: “The guidance had a very simple message: treat trans students with dignity and respect them for who they are,” Grimm told the congressional panel on Thursday.
“The decision to withdraw the guidance sent a terrible message to some of the most vulnerable people,” Grimm added.
“That President Trump — the leader of our country — and his administration do not care about protecting you from discrimination.”
Saying he was “so disappointed” in the decision to roll back the guidance, the 17-year-old said: “Actions speak far louder than words, and the message sent with this action could not have been more damaging for trans youth.”
The case was thrown into disarray after the Trump administration acted to withdraw the transgender protections the case partly relied on.
The case had hinged on the Obama administration’s guidance extending Title IX civil rights protections to outlaw discrimination based on gender identity.
However, after the Trump administration withdrew the protections, the Supreme Court opted to send the case back to the lower court.
In a notice, the justices sent the case back to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration following the federal government’s policy change.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer previously hinted the administration had sought to send a message to the Supreme Court by yanking the protections.
He said: “The guidance [the administration] puts forward obviously sends a signal to the Court on where the administration stands on this issue.”
The ACLU previously explained of his case: “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree that excluding transgender students from using the common restrooms used by everyone else is sex discrimination and that it’s wrong.
“Gavin’s case, and the so-called restroom debates more broadly, are about much more than just restrooms.
“This is a chance for the country to get to know our transgender family, friends, colleagues, and community members. This case will put Gavin’s story before the public and the justices who will be deciding what equality for transgender people means.
“What should become clear is that restroom restrictions bar transgender people from full participation in public life by making it challenging or even impossible to go to work, to school, to the movies, or a restaurant. And that letting transgender people use the restroom doesn’t intrude on anyone else’s privacy or safety. Gavin — and so many other transgender people all across the country — are living proof of that reality.
“Now that the court has accepted this case, the restroom issue, which has been percolating in national discussions for years, has a face: Gavin Grimm.
“We are so grateful to Gavin for the strength he has shown in standing up for himself and others as well as for the bravery of transgender people all across the country who are fighting to ensure that the type of dehumanizing treatment that Gavin endured doesn’t happen to anyone else.”