Gavin Grimm has spent the last few years of his life in the public eye after a local school board in Virginia denied him usage of a boy’s bathroom. In fact, the board went so far as to, in 2014, institute a bathroom policy that would keep any trans student from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Now, a federal court judge has ruled that policy to be a violation of rights.
“Every student should feel safe at school, regardless of gender identity. Transgender students are covered by Title IX and the United States Constitution and are entitled to the same rights and protections as every other student,” Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel for the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement in a response to the ruling. “With the Trump-Pence administration’s barrage of attacks on LGBTQ people in this country, including against students, we are pleased that yet another federal court decision has reaffirmed legal rights and dignity of transgender people. Congratulations to Gavin Grimm and the American Civil Liberties Union on this milestone victory.”
The case has been a four year process. He initially sued the Gloucester County, Virginia school board back in 2015. At the time he was a junior in high school and, prior to the school board instituting a new policy, been allowed to use the boy’s room. According to this new policy, trans students would need to use a single-stall restroom.
The case started out on a high note with Grimm winning. There have been multiple appeals by the school board. When the appeals reached the U.S. Supreme Court, they refused to hear the case but instead sent it back to the lower courts to be ruled on again, vacating Grimm’s past win. But now, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen has put an end to it all, ordering the board to settle with Grimm, who has now graduated from the school.
“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 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.” In addition to the ruling, the district must update Grimm’s transcripts to reflect his gender.
The district could appeal the ruling but has made no statement on whether they will.