ACLU appeals decision forcing Gloucester County transgender student to use separate but equal restroom
The fight for one rural Virginia transgender student has hit its next benchmark on the way to the Supreme Court with an appeal filed by the ACLU aiming to overturn a lower judges ruling which forced him to use the girls restroom, or a separate, segregated restroom in his public school.
School has been in session in rural Gloucester County for about 2 months and Gavin Grimm, 16, said in a release that his fight for equal treatment has made the already uncomfortable experience of high school even worse.
“I’m still dealing with the day-to-day humiliation of being singled out from other students,” said Grimm. “Even though this has been a long battle, I’m pushing forward because all transgender students in Virginia deserve to live fully as who they are.”
Grimm’s fight started last year when the local school board enacted a policy which required students to use restrooms aligned with their birth gender. Grimm is receiving treatment for severe gender dysphoria which his doctors say require him to socially transition in all aspects of his life, including things like using the boy’s bathroom.
The ACLU filed a law suit against the Gloucester County School Board and it went to Norfolk District Court in September. U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar heard the case and later ruled against Grimm and denied an injunction requesting the student be allowed to use the restroom he identifies with.
“We hope and expect that the Fourth Circuit will reverse the lower court’s ruling and reaffirm that Title IX and the Constitution protect transgender students from being singled out for different treatment simply because of who they are,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney in the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project. The Department of Justice filed a brief supporting Grimm based on Title IX earlier this year. Judge Doumar, however, refused to hear from the DOJ representative in the courtroom during the September hearing.
“School officials must treat all students equally and may not demean and stigmatize transgender students by relegating them to separate restrooms from their peers,” Block said.
The ACLU filed a notice of appeal back in September, however the actual brief was filed yesterday. Rebecca Glennburg, one of the Virginia ACLU lawyers fighting for Grimm, said the case is expected to get an oral argument hearing, probably early next year, with a ruling in late spring.
“Every day that the stay remains in effect, Gavin loses another day of his senior year that he will never get back.”September 14, 2016
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