Metro Weekly

Gavin Grimm to be honored at Justice Department Pride event

Virginia teen's selection seen as subtle criticism of DOJ actions to rescind trans student guidance

Gavin Grimm, Photo: Todd Franson

A group representing LGBTQ employees of the Department of Justice will register its disapproval with the department’s actions regarding transgender schoolchildren by presenting an award to transgender teenager Gavin Grimm.

According to BuzzFeed, DOJ Pride plans to award Grimm with the Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award, given to recognize significant contributions on behalf of the LGBTQ community, at its annual LGBT Pride Month Program on the morning of June 28.

Grimm sued his local school board for banning him from the boys’ restroom and had been slated to argue his case before the U.S. Supreme Court until Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded Obama-era guidance to schools suggesting that transgender students should be treated according to their gender identity. As such, his selection for the award is being interpreted by some political observers as a subtle criticism of the leadership of the Department of Justice.

DOJ Pride members vote each year on who should receive the award. In past years, the group has given the Roemer award to Shannon Minter, a transgender man and lawyer with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, former Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., Stuart Delery, who argued against the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act after the Obama-era Justice Department stopped defending the law in court, and Brendon Ayanbadejo, the former Baltimore Ravens football player and advocate for marriage equality. 

Grimm, who has been honored with several awards relating to his advocacy on behalf of transgender youth in the past few months, is expected to attend the event, BuzzFeed reports. Grimm’s legal team was not immediately available for comment on whether their client will participate in the event.

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

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