The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia today responded to the Gloucester County School Board’s request to the Supreme Court to again take up Gavin Grimm’s case. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit have both ruled that the school board violated Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause by prohibiting Gavin from using the same restrooms as other boys and forcing him to use separate restrooms — simply because he is transgender.
The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear Gavin’s case at an earlier stage of the litigation in 2017, but the case was sent back to the lower courts after the Trump administration withdrew the government’s support for Gavin’s claims. Since that time, three federal appeals courts have ruled that discriminatory restroom policies like the one in Gavin’s high school violate Title IX and the Constitution, and another two appeals courts have rejected claims that policies like the one Gavin seeks here — which would allow transgender students to use the restrooms — infringe on anyone else’s privacy.
As the Fourth Circuit noted in its decision ruling in favor of Gavin, the Gloucester School Board has continued to discriminate against Gavin, “while schools across Virginia and across the country were successfully implementing trans-inclusive bathroom policies, again, without incident.” It added, “It is time to move forward.”
Eden Heilman, legal director, ACLU of Virginia, released the following statement:
“No student deserves the kind of treatment Gavin endured while he was in high school. Courts have ruled time and again that transgender students must be protected from discrimination, yet Gloucester County schools continue to deny basic respect and dignity for its students. Over the last six years, Gavin’s case has inspired many people to advocate for inclusive policies in their communities, and we’re proud to continue working with him toward equal rights for all trans students.”
Statement from Gavin Grimm:
“I graduated four years ago — it is upsetting and disappointing that Gloucester County continues to deny who I am. Trans students in Gloucester County schools today should have the respect and dignity that I was denied. Whether it’s using the right restroom or having transcripts that reflect who we are, we all deserve to go to a school that’s free of harassment and discrimination.”
Statement from Josh Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project:
“It is disappointing that after six years of litigation, the Gloucester County School Board is still digging in its heels. Federal law is clear: Transgender students are protected from discrimination. Gloucester County schools are no exception.”