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Federal Court Sides with Transgender Teen Who Fought to Use Men's Restroom

05-22-2018
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A federal court in Virginia ruled against a school board Tuesday for barring a transgender teen from using the men's restroom.

Gavin Grimm, a biological female who identifies as a man, sued the Gloucester County School Board in 2015 after it passed a policy requiring students to use the bathroom that matches their birth gender.

The judge denied the school board's attempt to dismiss the case and said the bathroom policy violated Grimm's constitutional rights. Grimm's attorneys relied heavily on an Obama-era policy which told public schools that federal law (Title IX) forbids sex discrimination in education settings. The term "sex" also includes "gender identity." 

The Trump Justice and Education Departments rescinded the Obama administration's policy on school bathrooms in 2017, leaving many school administrators unsure of how to address transgender bathroom policies.

Tuesday's ruling comes after the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not hear the case of Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, and sent it back to a lower court in 2017.

Grimm, who graduated last year, praises the court's decision.

"I feel an incredible sense of relief," Grimm said in a statement. "After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it is against the law."

The ACLU of Virginia defended Grimm and affrimed the ruling.

"The district court has upheld what Gavin argued all along, that trans students deserve the same protections under Title IX as any other student and can't be stigmatized and ostracized just because of who they are," said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director, Claire Guthrie Gastañaga.

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