Metro Weekly

Gloucester County asks Supreme Court to rule on Gavin Grimm case

Board argues that Title IX's protections against sex discrimination should not extend to transgender students

Gavin Grimm - Photo: Todd Franson
Gavin Grimm – Photo: Todd Franson

Gloucester County School Board has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on transgender student Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit against its policy barring him from the boys’ restroom.

Specifically, the school board wants the court to review a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April, which found that Grimm should be allowed to sue under Title IX to use the restroom that matches his gender identity.

That ruling prompted U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar to issue a preliminary injunction that would stop Gloucester County from forcing Grimm to use the bathroom in the nurse’s office or one of several “unisex” restrooms that used to be broom closets.

Although the board was successful in getting the Supreme Court to halt Doumar’s injunction from taking effect, it is hoping that the justices will also vote to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision.

Ideally, they believe the court should find that Title IX’s prohibitions on sex discrimination only apply to instances when a person is treated unequally because of their biological sex. The board argues that those same protections do not extend to transgender people or those who are gender non-conforming.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Grimm, is expected to file a response to the school board’s request. They are hopeful that the court will refuse to second-guess the Fourth Circuit’s ruling. If the Supreme Court refuses to take up the case, the preliminary injunction goes into effect while Grimm’s lawsuit moves forward. The injunction only applies to restrooms, not locker rooms, and only to Grimm, and not other transgender students.

Grimm’s underlying lawsuit, which challenges Gloucester County’s restroom policy as unconstitutional under both Title IX and the Fourteenth Amendment, has been scheduled to be heard in January next year.

Gavin’s Story: Gavin Grimm is the new face of the transgender rights movement

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