A federal appeals court on Tuesday
sided with a transgender teen who is suing his school over the right
to use the boys bathroom.
In a 2-to-1 decision, the Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ordered a lower court to rehear
a lawsuit filed by Gavin Grimm, a junior at Gloucester High School in
Virginia who came out male in his sophomore year.
The court's majority deferred to the
U.S. Department of Education's position on the issue, The
New York Times reported. The agency has said that barring
transgender students from using the bathrooms that match their gender
identities amounts to a violation of Title IX.
“At the heart of this appeal is
whether Title IX requires schools to provide transgender students
access to restrooms congruent with their gender identity,” the
court wrote. “We conclude that the Department's interpretation of
its own regulation … as it relates to restroom access by
transgender individuals, is … to be accorded controlling weight in
The ruling is likely to affect events
in North Carolina, which is facing a backlash after barring
transgender people in public institutions from using the bathroom
that corresponds with their gender identity.
The Fourth Circuit oversees courts in
five states, including North Carolina.