The US Supreme Court rejected a Virginia school board’s appeal to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban in a major victory for transgender rights groups and former high school student Gavin Grimm.
When Grimm was a 15-year-old pupil at Gloucester High School, he was banned from using the men’s bathroom.
The school’s board required Grimm, now 22, to use bathrooms that corresponded with his biological sex, female, or use private bathrooms. He subsequently filed a federal lawsuit and fought in court for six years to overturn the decision.
In their petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, the school board claimed that its bathroom policy poses a “pressing federal question of national importance” and that federal laws protected them against discrimination based on sex, not gender identity.
The board also claimed that Grimm was anatomically a female because he had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery.
Grimm said that being forced to use the nurse’s room, a private bathroom and the women’s restroom was “humiliating” for him and hindered his education.
In a statement on Monday, he said: “Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials.
“I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over.”
Speaking with The Associated Press, Grimm added: “This is a national conversation because trans people are everywhere and because we have to fight for our rights in like most of the states in our nation still who have not passed affirming policies.”
The American Civil Liberties Union praised the Supreme Court’s decision to let stand the lower court rulings supporting transgender rights, saying their verdict is a major triumph for Grimm, as well as transgender students across the United States.
Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union LGBTQ & HIV Project, said: “This is the third time in recent years that the Supreme Court has allowed appeals court decisions in support of transgender students to stand. This is an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country.
“Our work is not yet done, and the ACLU is continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country.”
GLAAD President and Chief Executive Officer Sarah Kate Ellis called it a “victory for transgender students who simply want to be themselves without worrying about being rejected or refused access to basic dignities,” which was echoed by Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
He hailed the decision as an “important tactical victory for transgender individuals, especially in public schools.”
“The larger question, which wasn’t at issue in this case, is how the Justices are going to address circumstances where accommodations based upon sexual orientation or gender identity run headlong into compelling countervailing interests, such as the protection of religious liberty,” added Vladeck.
“Just as in the Bostock employment discrimination ruling from last Term, leaving the decision below in this case intact kicks that question down the road.”
After 6 years. Nearly my entire highschool career and the first 4 years of adulthood. Happy Pride.
— Gavin Grimm 🏳️⚧️ (@GavinGrimmVA) June 28, 2021