Bathroom debate reaches Supreme Court
The Supreme Court will take up transgender rights for the first time in the case of a Virginia school board that wants to prevent a transgender teenager from using the boys’ bathroom at his high school.
The justices said Friday they will hear the appeal from the Gloucester County school board sometime next year. The high court’s order means that student Gavin Grimm will not be able to use the boys’ bathroom in the meantime.
A lower court had ordered the school board to accommodate Grimm, but the justices in August put that order on hold while they considered whether to hear the appeal.
Grimm, a 17-year-old high school senior, was born female but identifies as male. He was allowed to use the boys’ restroom at his high school for several weeks in 2014. But after some parents complained, the school board adopted a policy requiring students to use either the restroom that corresponds with their biological gender or a private, single-stall restroom. Grimm is backed by the Obama administration in his argument that the policy violates Title IX, a federal law that bars sex discrimination in schools.
“I never thought that my restroom use would ever turn into any kind of national debate,” Grimm said in a statement issued after the court announced it will hear his case. “The only thing I ever asked for was the right to be treated like everyone else. While I’m disappointed that I will have to spend my final school year being singled out and treated differently from every other guy, I will do everything I can to make sure that other transgender students don’t have to go through the same experience.”
The Education Department says transgender students should be allowed to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identities. Among the issues in the case is whether the department’s guidance should have the force of law.
Similar lawsuits are pending around the country. The Obama administration has sued North Carolina over a state law aimed at restricting transgender students to bathrooms that correspond to their biological genders.
The justices will take up transgender rights for the first time when they hear a Virginia school case.
In this Aug. 22 photo, transgender high school student Gavin Grimm poses in front of his home in Gloucester, Va.