News & Politics

Gavin Grimm Wins Unequivocal Court Victory for Transgender Students in Bathroom Rights Case

Constitutional protections are clear.

Photo Credit: ACLU

A federal judge has ruled that both the U.S. Constitution and Title IX of the federal civil rights statutes protect transgender students.

U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that transgender students must be allowed to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, and cannot be forced to use separate facilities, including restrooms and other gender-specific facilities, like locker rooms.

In its 31-page ruling, the court, siding with the ACLU, ruled against the Gloucester County School Board's request to dismiss the case. Instead, it ordered the school board to settle with Gavin Grimm, formerly a student at the school when he brought the suit nearly three years ago. Grimm has since graduated.

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"I feel an incredible sense of relief," Grimm, 19, said via 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."

“The Sixth and Seventh Circuits have since held that excluding boys and girls who are transgender from the restrooms that align with their gender identity may subject them to discrimination on the basis of sex under Title DC, the Equal Protection Clause, or both,” JudgeWright Allen also wrote.

ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Block said: "The district court’s ruling vindicates what Gavin has saying from the beginning."

"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," Block added. "These sorts of discriminatory policies do nothing to protect privacy and only serve to harm and humiliate transgender students."