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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 10, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 10
What next in the Gavin Grimm case?
Section One
ALL STORIES
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What next in the Gavin Grimm case?

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The US Supreme Court suddenly reversed itself on March 6 and sent the Gavin Grimm case back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case, which the high court had already agreed to hear and had scheduled for March 28, would have decided whether Transgender students have a right to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identities.

The 4th Circuit originally ruled in favor of Grimm, but the Supreme Court vacated its ruling. In other words, the 4th Circuit must now reconsider the case.

At issue is the new Trump administration directive rescinding Obama-era protections for Trans students based on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Obama said that Title IX's prohibition of 'sex discrimination' also protected gender identity. Trump says it does not.

Grimm, the high school student who is the plaintiff in the case, charged that the Gloucester County School Board's decision to force him to use a separate, single-stall restroom that no other student is required to use violated his rights under Title IX.

The additional delay means that Grimm will graduate from high school before his right to use the restrooms there will be adjudicated. Nevertheless, he vowed to continue to press his case.

'This fight is bigger than me,' Grimm wrote in a New York Times op-ed. 'I came to realize that very early on, and it is truer now than it ever has been.

'This fight is for other trans youth in my high school. It is for other trans youth in Virginia. It is for all trans youth who are in school or one day will be. It is for the friends and loved ones of these youth, who want these children to be happy and healthy, rather than at risk and in danger as so many trans people are.'

Grimm's lead attorney, Joshua Block of the ACLU's LGBT Project, said that in spite of the Trump administration's backtrack on Title IX, he still believed that federal law protects Trans students.

'Nothing about today's action changes the meaning of the law. Title IX and the Constitution protect Gavin and other transgender students from discrimination,' Block said in a statement.

'While we're disappointed that the Supreme Court will not be hearing Gavin's case this term, the overwhelming level of support shown for Gavin and trans students by people across the country throughout this process shows that the American people have already moved in the right direction and that the rights of trans people cannot be ignored. This is a detour, not the end of the road, and we'll continue to fight for Gavin and other transgender people to ensure that they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.'

Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and the new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, issued instructions on Title IX last month, reversing federal policy protecting Trans students.

According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the administration sought to send a message to the Supreme Court by yanking the protections.

'The guidance [the administration] puts forward obviously sends a signal to the Court on where the administration stands on this issue,' Spicer said.

Other cases involving Trans rights are also headed for the Supreme Court, including one challenging North Carolina's HB 2.

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