Appeals court rules in favor of transgender student in Virginia restroom access case

aclu virginiaA federal court of appeals ruled on Tuesday in favor of transgender male student Gavin Grimm in his challenge to Gloucester High School’s discriminatory restroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers by requiring them to use “alternative, private” facilities.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit marks the first time that a federal appeals court has determined that Title IX protects the rights of transgender students to use sex segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. The Fourth Circuit remanded the case for the district court to reevaluate Gavin’s request for a preliminary injunction under the proper legal standard.

“I feel so relieved and vindicated by the court’s ruling.” said Grimm. “Today’s decision gives me hope that my fight will help other kids avoid discriminatory treatment at school.”

“Today’s Fourth Circuit decision is a vindication for Gavin and a reinforcement of the Department of Education’s policy.” said Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project. “With this decision, we hope that schools and legislators will finally get the message that excluding transgender kids from the restrooms is unlawful sex discrimination.”

“Gavin’s fight has been a beacon of hope in the face of increasingly hostile rhetoric against transgender people in Virginia, and across the nation,” said Gail Deady, the Secular Society Women’s Rights Legal Fellow at the ACLU of Virginia. “The court’s ruling sends a strong message to schools and lawmakers that discriminatory restroom policies don’t just harm transgender students, they put Title IX funding at risk.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia brought the case in June 2015 seeking a preliminary injunction so that Gavin may use the boys’ restroom when school resumed for his junior year. In September, U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar ruled against Gavin by dismissing his Title IX claim but allowed his case, under the Equal Protection claim, to proceed.

The ruling can be found at pdfserver.amlaw.com/nlj/GLOUCESTER_CA4_20160420.pdf.



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