A federal judge in Virginia on Friday rejected a school’s policy regarding transgender students and bathroom use in a ruling celebrated as a victory for transgender students seeking access to the bathrooms of their choosing.
“There is no question that the board’s policy discriminates against transgender students on the basis of their gender nonconformity,” U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen of Norfolk wrote in her decision, Fox News reported.
“Under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity,” she wrote.
“Transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go.”
The case of student Gavin Grimm, which began in 2015, was expected to be a test of Obama-era rules requiring schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choosing and was en route to Supreme Court consideration.
However, when President Donald Trump rescinded the Obama-era policy, the case reverted to a lower court.
The school had sought to have the suit dismissed last year, but lost in that effort, which was also heard by Allen, according to The New York Times.
Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, wanted to use the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms at Gloucester High School, from which Grimm has since graduated.
The school refused to allow that, which Allen ruled violated Grimm’s rights.
Allen based her decision on the Constitution’s equal protection clause and Title IX, a federal policy banning gender-based discrimination.
The ruling also required the Gloucester County School District revise its records to list Grimm as a male.
“The perpetuation of harm to a child stemming from unconstitutional conduct cannot be allowed to stand,” Allen wrote, according to The Washington Post.
She said Grimm’s rights were violated “on the day the policy was first issued” and until Grimm graduated.
Grimm and his supporters tweeted their joy at winning in court.
“I promise to continue to advocate for as long as it takes for everyone to be able to live their authentic lives freely, in public, and without harrassment and discrimination,” Grimm tweeted.
I promise to continue to advocate for as long as it takes for everyone to be able to live their authentic lives freely, in public, and without harrassment and discrimination.
— Gavin Grimm (@GavinGrimmVA) August 9, 2019
BREAKING: A federal court just agreed with us that Gloucester High School was wrong to deny Gavin Grimm access to the boys’ restrooms and an accurate transcript identifying him as a boy.
🗣 Trans people belong in schools. Trans people belong EVERYWHERE https://t.co/WfmZEBAWXo
— ACLU (@ACLU) August 9, 2019
Although school officials did not immediately comment on the ruling, Grimm told The Post it was “likely that this is not the end.”
Allen admitted the school board had the “unenviable responsibility” of creating fair and inclusive rules on a complex issue.
“There can be no doubt that all involved in this case have the best interests of the students at heart,” Allen wrote.
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