Judge: Transgender teen like civil right icons
Compares to those who refused to accept injustice
RICHMOND | An appeals court judge on Friday compared a Virginia teen who sued his school board for the right to use the boys bathroom to civil and human activists throughout history who have “refused to accept quietly the injustices that were perpetrated against them.”
Judge Andre M. Davis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit used an inconsequential ruling in Gavin Grimm’s case to pen an opinion hailing the 17-year-old as a champion for transgender rights, comparing him to such icons as the Virginia couple that fought to overturn the ban on interracial marriage.
“Today, G.G. adds his name to the list of plaintiffs whose struggle for justice has been delayed and rebuffed; as Dr. King has reminded us, however, ‘the arc of the moral universal is long but it bends toward justice.’ G.G.’s journey is delayed, but not finished,” Judge Davis wrote, referring to a quote from Martin Luther King.
Judge Henry F. Floyd joined Judge Davis’ opinion. Both judges were nominated by President Barack Obama.
David Corrigan, an attorney for the Gloucester County School Board, declined to comment. The school board argues that allowing Gavin to use the boys restroom imperils the privacy rights of its students.
Gavin was born female but identifies as male. He was allowed to use the boys restrooms at the 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.
His case is back in the Richmond-based 4th Circuit after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take it up when President Trump revoked guidance from the Obama administration on transgender bathroom access.
The previous guidance said transgender students should be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.
The 4th Circuit on Friday denied Gavin’s request to hold oral arguments in May to facilitate a decision by his June graduation. It also formally vacated a preliminary injunction that ordered Gavin’s school to let him use the boys restroom.
The order had been put on hold by the U.S. Supreme Court, so Gavin has not been able to use the boys restroom during his senior year and Friday’s ruling doesn’t change anything.
Gloucester County High School senior Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen who sued his school board to use the boys bathroom, was hailed as a champion for transgender rights by U.S. Appeals Court Judge Andre M. Davis.