Bath­room de­bate reaches Supreme Court

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Sher­man and Alanna Durkin Richer

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.

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