A federal court in Virginia sided with transgender rights activist Gavin Grimm saying that federal law protects transgender students from being forced to use separate restrooms, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced Tuesday.
The U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia denied the Gloucester County School Board’s motion to dismiss its case against Grimm, who graduated from Gloucester High School in June 2017. The court held that Title IX and the Constitution protect transgender students from being excluded from public restrooms that align with their gender identity.
“I feel an incredible sense of relief,” said Grimm, a client of the ACLU of Virginia. “After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law. I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through.”
Grimm, 18, was assigned female at birth but has identified as male since his freshman year in high school. Court documents say Grimm used the boys’ restrooms at the school for approximately seven weeks without incident.
The Gloucester County School Board overruled its administrators and enacted a new policy prohibiting boys and girls “with gender identity issues” from using the same restrooms as other students after some adults in the community complained, which resulted in a new policy that required transgender students to use an “alternative appropriate private facility.”
Grimm filed the original complaint in June 2015.