A federal judge on Tuesday declined to
dismiss a transgender teen's lawsuit challenging his Virginia school
district's bathroom policy.
Gavin Grimm is the 18-year-old teen at
the center of the transgender bathroom debate. In his lawsuit, Grimm
claims that excluding him from using the bathroom of his choice
violates Title IX and the U.S. Constitution.
In March, the Supreme Court, which was
scheduled to hear Grimm's case, announced it would not consider the
case and sent it back to a lower court. Grimm's case rested heavily
on guidance issued last year by the Department of Education, which
stated that transgender students were protected under Title IX. The
Trump administration revoked the Obama-era guidance, saying that the
issue was better left up to the states. The reversal prompted the
high court to act.
In her 31-page ruling, Judge Arenda L.
Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Virginia declined a motion from the Gloucester County School Board to
dismiss the lawsuit. She also ordered parties to participate in a
“The Board's argument that the policy
did not discriminate against any one class of students is
resoundingly unpersuasive,” Allen
wrote. “Accordingly, the Court declines to dismiss his Equal
Grimm is represented by the American
Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Virginia.
“The district court’s ruling
vindicates what Gavin has been saying from the beginning,” Joshua
Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project,
said in a statement. “Federal law protects Gavin and other
students who are transgender from being stigmatized and excluded from
using the same common restrooms that other boys and girls use. These
sorts of discriminatory policies do nothing to protect privacy and
only serve to harm and humiliate transgender students.”
Grimm, who graduated high school this
year, said that he was continuing the fight for transgender students
who would come after him.
“I feel an incredible sense of
relief. 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 was against the law. I was
determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student
to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through,”
Grimm said in a statement released by the ACLU.