This Court Decision in the Gavin Grimm Case Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes

On April 7th, the Fourth Circuit overturned Gavin Grimm's win from last year, based on the Supreme Court's decision last month not to hear the case. Gavin had won the right to use the boys' restroom on the same terms as other boys but the school district appealed his win. The Fourth Circuit will now hear oral argument later this year to determine whether Title IX protects transgender students independently of any federal guidance on the issue one way or the other. Two of the three judges that considered Gavin's case, Senior Judge Andre Davis joined by Judge Henry Floyd, issued this moving opinion noting that Gavin's "journey is delayed but not finished" and recognizing Gavin's important role in the history of movements for justice.

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I concur in the order granting the unopposed motion to vacate the district court’s preliminary injunction and add these observations.

G.G., then a fifteen-year-old transgender boy, addressed the Gloucester County School Board on November 11, 2014, to explain why he was not a danger to other students. He explained that he had used the boys’ bathroom in public places throughout Gloucester County and had never had a confrontation. He explained that he is a person worthy of dignity and privacy. He explained why it is humiliating to be segregated from the general population. He knew, intuitively, what the law has in recent decades acknowledged: the perpetuation of stereotypes is one of many forms of invidious discrimination. And so he hoped that his heartfelt explanation would help the powerful adults in his community come to understand what his adolescent peers already did. G.G. clearly and eloquently attested that he was not a predator, but a boy, despite the fact that he did not conform to some people’s idea about who is a boy. 

Regrettably, a majority of the School Board was unpersuaded. And so we come to this moment. High school graduation looms and, by this court’s order vacating the preliminary injunction, G.G.’s banishment from the boys’ restroom becomes an enduring feature of his high school experience. Would that courtesies extended to others had been extended to G.G.

Our country has a long and ignominious history of discriminating against our most vulnerable and powerless. We have an equally long history, however, of brave individuals—Dred Scott, Fred Korematsu, Linda Brown, Mildred and Richard Loving, Edie Windsor, and Jim Obergefell, to name just a few—who refused to accept quietly the injustices that were perpetuated against them. It is unsurprising, of course, that the burden of confronting and remedying injustice falls on the shoulders of the oppressed. These individuals looked to the federal courts to vindicate their claims to human dignity, but as the names listed above make clear, the judiciary’s response has been decidedly mixed. Today, G.G. adds his name to the list of plaintiffs whose struggle for justice has been delayed and rebuffed; as Dr. King reminded us, however, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” G.G.’s journey is delayed but not finished.

G.G.’s case is about much more than bathrooms. It’s about a boy asking his school to treat him just like any other boy. It’s about protecting the rights of transgender people in public spaces and not forcing them to exist on the margins. It’s about governmental validation of the existence and experiences of transgender people, as well as the simple recognition of their humanity. His case is part of a larger movement that is redefining and broadening the scope of civil and human rights so that they extend to a vulnerable group that has traditionally been unrecognized, unrepresented, and unprotected.

G.G.’s plight has shown us the inequities that arise when the government organizes society by outdated constructs like biological sex and gender. Fortunately, the law eventually catches up to the lived facts of people; indeed, the record shows that the 4 Commonwealth of Virginia has now recorded a birth certificate for G.G. that designates his sex as male.

G.G.’s lawsuit also has demonstrated that some entities will not protect the rights of others unless compelled to do so. Today, hatred, intolerance, and discrimination persist — and are sometimes even promoted — but by challenging unjust policies rooted in invidious discrimination, G.G. takes his place among other modern-day human rights leaders who strive to ensure that, one day, equality will prevail, and that the core dignity of every one of our brothers and sisters is respected by lawmakers and others who wield power over their lives.

G.G. is and will be famous, and justifiably so. But he is not “famous” in the hollowed-out Hollywood sense of the term. He is famous for the reasons celebrated by the renowned Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shehab Nye, in her extraordinary poem, Famous. Despite his youth and the formidable power of those arrayed against him at every stage of these proceedings, “[he] never forgot what [he] could do.” Judge Floyd has authorized me to state that he joins in the views expressed herein.

See N. S. Nye, Famous:

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

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Anonymous

I want to go into women’s bathrooms if there are pretty women in there & if a pretty woman wants to use men’s bathrooms, then that is fine with me. I want a pretty woman to go into men’s bathrooms but I wouldn’t want uglies like Ellen Lee DeGeneres and Rosie T. O’Donnell shitting in any bathroom as they’re ugly so Ellen & Rosie can shit in diapers. Ellen Lee DeGeneres & Rosie T. O’Donnell both probably like to have farting & shitting contests in bathrooms, so Ellen & Rosie both want to do battleshits contest in men’s bathrooms since women’s toilets got dirtied by them.

Paul

Dude. WTF?

Anonymous

Christ, you're an idiot.

Tina S

Your words are offensive and obnoxious....a reflection of who you are, no doubt. You are the one who is ugly. And with your vileness you bring nothing to the discussion but a reflection of what a empty, vapid, miserable soul lurks beneath its vile exterior.

Anonymous

Im a conservative christian and don't like either of them, but GEEZ dude, everyone deserves some respect. and what you said is really wierd

Anonymous

There is something wrong with a man thinking he is a woman or a woman thinking she is a man. It is mutilation with dangerous hormones. Most transexuals were sexually abused in childhood which messed up their minds and transexuals sexually abuse children. Transexuals are mutilated gays and lesbians. I don’t care what others say but mutilating a man or woman to make them fake members of opposite sex is gay/lesbian. And gay/lesbian groups are apologists for Transexuals which is why the word T is there. They must abolish this surgical mutilation.

All transexuals are homosexual/lesbian as the act of mutilating to become false opposite sex is itself an act of homosexuality/lesbianism-sad maiming and make this illegal. Finally, sex change maimings which is mutilating some1 to make them fake members of opposite sex is comparable to trying to make a man a fake animal because he thinks he is an animal trapped in a human body. Most feminists are not speaking against this. 1 would hope that feminists would oppose the mutilation that happened to Chastity Sun Bono as feminists have spoken against Female Genital Mutilation which happens in some nations. Transexuals are mutilations which no Dr. should take part in, yet most feminists are not condemning this female genital and breast mutilation as what happened to Chastity S. Bono where her healthy breasts were mutilated, dangerous hormone shots and her genitals mutilated.

Paul

You really don't know what the hell you're talking about. Like, at all. What someone does with their own body is 100% their business and their choice.

Anonymous

You are spamming with different versions of the same content as other comments. Also, you have little to no understanding of what gender identity is or how it is formed. You're not worth arguing with because as you've stated any reply that disagrees with you will be disregarded. Please return to this conversation once you are no longer a waste of space.

Anonymous

You need some help! Unfortunately those that think like you have very damaged wiring! You are to be pitied and too bad there is not a bathroom that you could use for " deeply disturbed human beings"! It would be an act of great kindness if your genes would be forever separated from the human species. I would imagine that you suffered some horrible abuse as a child in order for your thinking to be this disturbed. You need to be "flagged" and closely monitored to insure the public that you are not a danger.

Anonymous

With hysterectomies, if it’s to save a life, then that’s 1 thing. Many to most hysterectomies can be avoided but are done for money. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287736.php
Too often a Dr. will recommend to a woman that she needs a hysterectomy though it’s not needed and too often, people accept what a Dr. says without challenging.

Medicine is a business like other things. For eg. if you go to a mechanic or car dealer for car service, sometimes the mechanic will recommend that you get your spark plugs replaced, get new tires, etc. though they’re not needed for your car. They do this because they want to make money and the more expensive the repairs or replacement, the more money they make. Medicine for the same reasons is a business. Too often Drs. recommend surgeries & medicines though they are not needed. They do this for money.

& they’re doing these maimings mutilations on kids such as giving puberty block drugs. Surgeons who do these mutilations don’t care about the harm it does but they care about money. Then they make justifications for why to do this to kids. I don’t expect these mutilations to go away soon, but the dangers of this must be told.They must abolish this surgical mutilation.
1 would hope that feminists would oppose the mutilation that happened to Chastity Sun Bono as feminists have spoken against Female Genital Mutilation which happens in some nations. Transexuals are mutilations which no Dr. should take part in, yet most feminists are not condemning this female genital and breast mutilation as what happened to Chastity S. Bono where her healthy breasts were mutilated, dangerous hormone shots and her genitals mutilated.

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