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School’s transgender bathroom ban is ‘discriminatory’, rules judge

Vic Parsons August 13, 2019

Gavin Grimm. (ACLU)

A Virginia school’s decision to prevent a transgender student from using the bathroom corresponding to his gender identity was discriminatory, a judge has ruled.

Gavin Grimm, the student in question, was 15 when his mother informed the Gloucester County School Board that he was transitioning to a male identity.

The final judgment in the student’s favour, which was given on August 9 after a four-year legal battle, is being celebrated by activists.

Grimm was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, who said, “Trans people belong in schools. Trans people belong EVERYWHERE.”

After several months of using the men’s bathrooms, parents of other students complained. The school said that Grimm had to use female or private bathroom facilities instead, according to The Independent.


Grimm’s rights were violated under Title IX, the federal policy that protects against gender-based discrimination, said judge Arenda Wright Allen.

“There is no question that the board’s policy discriminates against transgender students on the basis of their gender noncomformity,” she wrote.

Transgender students subjected to ‘discriminatory treatment’.

Grimm, now 20 and studying towards being a teacher in California, said in a statement that the ruling came as a “relief” after “four years of fighting not just for myself, but for trans youth across America”.

“I promise to continue to advocate for as long as it takes for everyone to be able to live their authentic lives freely, in public, and without harassment and discrimination,” he said.

Allen said in her judgment: “Under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

“Transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment, and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go.”

The ruling also requires the school to update Grimm’s gender on his school records and certification transcripts.

Grimm’s lawsuit became a federal test case when then-president Barack Obama scheduled it to be sent to the Supreme Court in 2017.

But after president Donald Trump rescinded Obama’s directive regarding students choosing bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, the Supreme Court date was cancelled.

More: Title IX, trans bathroom ban, Virginia

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