Supreme Court allows lower-court rulings on transgender students to stand
The United States Supreme Court today declined to hear Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, allowing lower court decisions in support of transgender students to stand.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit have both ruled that the school board violated Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause by prohibiting Grimm from using the same restrooms as other boys and forcing him to use separate restrooms.
“I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over,” Grimm said. “Being forced to use the nurse’s room, a private bathroom, and the girl’s room was humiliating for me, and having to go to out-of-the-way bathrooms severely interfered with my education. Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials.”
The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear Grimm’s case at an earlier stage of the litigation in 2017, but the case was sent back to the lower courts after the Trump administration withdrew the government’s support for Grimm’s claims.
Since that time, three federal appeals courts have ruled that discriminatory restroom policies like the one in Grimm’s high school violate Title IX and the Constitution, and another two appeals courts have rejected claims that policies like the one Grimm seeks here — which would allow transgender students to use the restrooms — infringe on anyone else’s privacy.
The Department of Justice and Department of Education have affirmed these court decisions with recent actions in cases involving transgender youth.
“Gavin has fought for more than six long years against the discrimination he faced in high school, and he has been a steadfast advocate for trans youth everywhere,” said Eden Heilman, legal director with the ACLU of Virginia. “The courts have rightfully ruled to protect Gavin and other trans students from discrimination. This latest victory reaffirms what we already know: Trans people deserve equal rights, dignity and respect.”
“This is the third time in recent years that the Supreme Court has allowed appeals court decisions in support of transgender students to stand,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union LGBTQ & HIV Project. “This is an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country. Our work is not yet done, and the ACLU is continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country.”