Supreme Court Will Rule on a Virginia Transgender Rights Case
Oct 30 2016 by Michele Stevens
"The court's decision to take the case means Grimm will not be able to use the boys bathroom before graduating from high school next year", said Grimm's lawyer, Josh Block. Rodríguez-Roldán, Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director at The National LGBTQ Task Force stated, "We are pleased that Gavin's case will now be considered by the Supreme Court". He called Friday "one of the most important days in the history of the transgender movement".
In an opinion siding with Gavin, the Fourth Circuit said he "has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a medical condition characterized by clinically significant distress caused by an incongruence between a person's gender identity and the person's birth-assigned sex".
The court is acting just a year after it established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, as state laws and federal actions on transgender rights have prompted a welter of lawsuits.
The case will likely be the highest profile issue the shorthanded Supreme Court will hear this term.
The Education Department says transgender students should be allowed to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identities. In May, the White House - citing Title IX, a federal law that protects students from gender discrimination - directed schools to allow students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identities. School administrators initially permitted Gavin to use the boys' restroom.
"This confirms what the governor has said for the past year that this issue, which is directly related to the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court", said the office of Gov.
Conservative groups have backed the school board, saying the fight is about student privacy rights. Some states, led by Texas, challenged the order in federal court; a federal district judge in Texas sided with them and blocked the order. And the school district in response offered him the use of a separate unisex restroom.
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In 1972, Congress passed the Title IX amendment, which said schools and colleges may not discriminate against students on the basis of sex.
A transgender boy's battle to use the restroom of his choosing at his Virginia high school has reached the Supreme Court.
"By excluding Gavin-a transgender boy-from the boys restrooms because the school board does not deem him to be "biologically" male, the school board, under color of state law, has treated and continues to treat Gavin differently from similarly situated students based on his gender", the suit asserted.
Without Supreme Court intervention, school districts in the 4th Circuit - which includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia - would be bound by the appeals court ruling in Grimm's favor, while all other school districts would be bound by the Texas judge's decision blocking the administration policy.
The high school's board has appealed an earlier ruling favouring the student and the justices have now agreed to hear the appeal.
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. The judge issued a nationwide order blocking its enforcement. 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.