Metro Weekly

Gavin Grimm’s case moves forward in federal district court

Grimm wants a permanent injunction to stop Gloucester County from enforcing its anti-transgender restroom policy

Gavin Grimm - Photo: Todd Franson

Gavin Grimm – Photo: Todd Franson

On Friday, transgender teen Gavin Grimm withdrew his request for a preliminary injunction, which allows him to move forward with his lawsuit challenging the Gloucester County School Board’s policy banning transgender kids from restrooms matching their gender identity.

Grimm’s lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union had previously asked for a temporary injunction to stop the school from enforcing its restroom policy. They argue the policy is unconstitutional, and violates Grimm’s rights under both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.

Grimm has since graduated from Gloucester High School, meaning there is no longer a need for a temporary injunction. Instead, his lawyers are seeking a more permanent injunction against the school board to prevent them from implementing the restroom policy, which dovetails with its efforts to have the policy declared unconstitutional.

Grimm’s lawyers will also continue to push for the school board to award nominal damages to Grimm for discriminating against him and other transgender students who may enroll at Gloucester High School in the future.

“We believe that today’s filing represents the most efficient path forward to ensuring that justice is served for Gavin,” Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, said in a statement released on Friday evening.

“Gavin graduated from high school before his simple request to his school board to treat him like every other boy could be validated, but this case is far from over,” Block continued. “We’ll continue to move forward so that Gavin’s rights are vindicated and so that we can ensure that no other transgender students in Gloucester County have to go through what Gavin went through.”

Grimm’s challenge had been scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court earlier this year, but was sent back to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance on Title IX. That guidance had urged schools to treat transgender students according to their gender identity, including with respect to restroom use.

But Grimm was dealt another setback when the 4th Circuit cancelled its arguments and sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar to determine whether Grimm’s graduation made his request for a temporary injunction moot. Doumar had previously found that Grimm had no right to argue that his rights were violated under Title IX, but has not yet ruled on whether Grimm’s rights under the Fourteenth Amendment were violated.

“Our fight to have our rights and dignity respected as trans people didn’t end just because I graduated from high school,” Grimm said in a statement. “I am in this for the long haul, and I remain hopeful that my case will help make sure that other transgender students are able to attend school safely and without discrimination.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com