This Supreme Court Case Could Affect Trans Lives for Generations

In a new video featuring ACLU client Gavin Grimm and his mom Deirdre Grimm, the two reflect on Gavin’s fight to be treated with dignity and respect by his school board in Gloucester County, Virginia — a journey that has taken them all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States where his case will be heard on March 28.

Gavin is a 17-year-old boy. But because he is transgender, his school board passed a policy barring him from sharing facilities with the rest of his peers. Rather than use the boys’ restroom that all other boys use, Gavin is forced into a converted utility closet or another, separate, stigmatized space every time he needs to use the restroom during the day. 

This decision to segregate and stigmatize Gavin was not the school’s initial reaction to learning he was transgender.

Before the start of his sophomore year, Gavin and his parents informed the school that Gavin is a boy and that, consistent with his medical treatment, needed to be treated as a boy for all purposes, including when using the restroom. The principal and others at Gavin’s school agreed. As educators, they likely recognized the critical importance of showing all kids that their school is on their side and won’t model and authorize bullying of kids who may be seen by their peers as different.

Consistent with the principal’s recommendations, Gavin was fully integrated into the school community and used the boys’ restroom like the rest of his male peers for two months without any issues. As far as Gavin knows, his peers never complained; the faculty never complained; the administrators at the school never complained. Every one treated it like the non-issue it was, and Gavin was accepted and integrated into the school community. For the first time in his life, he felt like he was living as his authentic self.

It wasn’t until adults in the community began to complain to the Gloucester County School Board that his restroom use became the subject of public controversy. With pressure from residents of Gloucester County — some of whom threatened to vote members of the school board out of office if they did not expel Gavin from the boys’ restroom — the Gloucester County School Board passed a policy barring kids with “gender identity issues” from restrooms that matched their gender. This meant that Gavin was banished from the restrooms that his peers used, publicly humiliated before his community, and essentially told he was unfit to be an equal member of his school.

Challenging the board’s policy as a deprivation of his rights to equal educational opportunities under federal law and his constitutional right to equal protection, Gavin filed a lawsuit at the end of his sophomore year. Now in his senior year, Gavin has spent his entire high school career fighting just to be treated like any other boy. He has endured public mockery and rejection. He has listened to adults shame him and his body, compare him to a dog, and call him a freak. And through it all, he has persisted in believing that he is deserving of dignity, humanity, and respect even in the face of opposition to his very existence. Imagine the fortitude and resilience it would take to navigate high school under these conditions.  Gavin is a model of bravery and will be remembered as a hero in the fight for justice for trans people.

Now, Gavin’s case has reached the Supreme Court, and the justices are poised to decide the scope of legal protections for Gavin and transgender people across the country.

Though often framed as a “restroom case,” this case is about so much more, and the stakes could not be higher. The court’s decision will impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of transgender people across the country.

If transgender people are not protected under the law, if we cannot safely go to restrooms that match who we are, then we cannot have jobs, we cannot go to school, we cannot participate in public life. That is what is at stake.

Reflecting on her son’s case, Gavin’s mom explains:

“I didn’t even know what transgender was when this all started. One of the first things I read was that almost 50 percent of these kids try to commit suicide. As a parent, that is all you really need to know to support your child.”

That’s all any of us should need to know to support kids like Gavin. 

This case will affect trans people for generations, and we need to stand together between now and March 28 and show the court that we will not accept rolling back the clock on progress and decency.

We have been here before. In 1986, the Supreme Court upheld criminal bans on sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex in Bowers v. Hardwick. “None of the [constitutional] rights announced in [our precedent] bears any resemblance to … claimed constitutional right of homosexuals to engage in acts of sodomy,” wrote Justice Byron White. “No connection between family, marriage, or procreation on the one hand and homosexual activity on the other has been demonstrated.” The decision was a blow to the dignity, humanity, and, indeed, the very survival of the LGBT community.

In 2013, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Lawrence v. Texas, invalidated the Bowers’ decision. “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today,” he wrote. “It ought not to remain binding precedent. Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is overruled.”

But for 17 years, that wrongly decided case justified sweeping, legally sanctioned discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. It affected a generation or more of people who struggled to navigate a society that justified the criminalization of the very essence of who we are as people.

Now the court is considering another case that could authorize legally sanctioned discrimination for decades. Opponents of trans people are urging that the rights trans people demand are so far outside of what the law protects — that we are freaks, that we seek special rights, that our bodies are incompatible with society. None of that is true. We seek simply to be protected from discrimination and afforded the same dignity and rights of our peers and colleagues.

We have heard this all before. It was wrong it 1986, and it is wrong today.

Let’s not repeat our mistakes. Let’s #StandWithGavin.  

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Anonymous

Oh, look, another fuckwit on the internet spewing transphobic shit.

Kymber

You need to do some actual research. There is no statistical data that shows "Most transexuals were sexually abused in childhood". In fact, contrary to your opinion there, it is in fact not true whatsoever. There has been no proven link to this abuse and transgender at all. Most of these folks have stated during therapy and treatment that they actually grew up in very happy homes, with good parents, and suffered no abuse.You wonder why no feminists are speaking out against this? I can answer that for you. We, as women, feel that it is NOT our right nor our job to tell others what gender they identify with. That is not a decision I should make for another human being. I do believe that you are reading the wrong things and wonder if you're only making up these things. Because for sure you are not listening to the MH community.

Anonymous

Wow, seriously? Let me talk the way you do. You're from South USA, probably above 40 years old and white male who feels entitled to judge others based on no facts or experiences whatsoever. Saying something based on ignorance is worse then saying nothing at all. Who cares what other people do. They're not hurting anyone. When faced with this situation, when people react the way you do, it is usually because the topic touches something inside you, compelling you to lash out. In fact, you need to address your own gender issues. If you were settled in your own self, none of this would matter to you. Insert the quote "Me thinks thou doth protest too much". In other words, be a better person and don't lower yourself to this level.

Courage vs Anon...

Anyone who chooses to make a statement so bold and full of self-centered fear obviously wouldn't have the guts to post their real name. Oh no, individuals like you hide in the shadows and most often are acting out the very thing they hate.

Good luck with that. Coward.

Anonymous

It's a good thing you're anonymous so that your friends, family and associates don't recognize how ignorant you are. Transgender/transsexual is not to be confused with homosexual, which is not to be confused with sexual mutilation. The first is someone who feels on the inside the opposite sex of the one they were born with, in other words, a boy with the psyche of a girl or a girl with the psyche of a boy. This has everything to do with how they feel about themselves, not whom they are attracted to. When they decide to have surgery to rectify this mistake of nature (to become a transsexual), they do so by PERSONAL CHOICE. The fact that they are willing to go through so much to change their sex shows how unhappy they really are. The term "sexual mutilation" refers to physical torture inflicted on someone else. There is no personal choice involved here. Sexual mutilation is usually done to girls, whereby their clitoris is removed so as to render them sexually diminished/incapacited. It is done AGAINST THE WISHES of the girl and consequently is TORTURE. A homosexual is someone who prefers having sexual relations with someone of the same sex. It is estimated that 10% of men are born this way. Homosexuality has been documented in almost all mammals. (When I was a kid we had a homosexual dog name Petey. He humped only other male dogs). Homosexuals are totally happy with the sex they were born with and do not wish to change sex so they are not, by definition, transgender. Then there are bisexuals, who are sexually turned on by both sexes. For the most part, people are who they are by genetics, not because they were sexually abused or humiliated. And, seriously, what does it matter to anyone what people do in the privacy of their own homes with other consenting adults? I say, live and let live.

Anonymous

Fuck you.

Jan Robertson

You are uninformed. Do some reading, scientific reading, and you will discover, if you have an open mind, how wrong you are. Take this time to research and learn, then point your poisonous personality somewhere else. I am not transgender, nor do I know anyone who is transgender. I do know that everyone has equal rights to be who they are. Even you.

Anonymous

I'm offering you a challenge. To give your post credibility. To do this, I'll ask a few questions to give it focus. If you can answer them (that is address the actual point asked), you've strengthened your position. If not, you've shown yourself to be a low intelligence bigot. I'm guessing you won't be able to answer my questions, but let's see.

YOU: "There is something wrong with a man thinking he is a woman or a woman thinking she is a man".

- Can you explain why somebody else living THEIR life the way THEY want to, in any way impinges upon YOUR life or that of anyone else?
- What is the "wrong" being done here?
- Does it simply cause you unease that you cannot qualify?

If we are talking about mental disorders, a psychologicist would explain to you that the reason you feel unease with it all is because it challenges a world view that you have cultivated for yourself (or been encouraged by your upbringing). To be told the world is not as simple as black & white when you think it is causes fear. People like certainty, sometimes to the point of bigotry when their own mental stability is at risk.

YOU: "Most transexuals were sexually abused in childhood"

- Can you cite your scientific source? Or are these just words mirroring your own gut feeling?
- How many transexuals do you personally have as friends?
- How many transexuals have you had a sufficient conversation with to get to know them well?

YOU : "I don’t care what others say... "

- Do you really not consider reasoned logical argument & use it to refine your own understanding of things?
- Will you be stuck in your current views forevermore, even as he world and/or our understanding of it move on?

People once believed the world was flat. Do you? When it was discovered the world is not flat, many refused to believe it. It freaked them out, scared the hell out of them ("being upside down on the underside of a ball makes no sense"). Consider that for a moment.

YOU: "All transexuals are homosexual/lesbian"

- Can you cite your rigourous scientific source for this, showing raw data, the process of analysis, and steps taken to eliminate any confirmation bias?

From experience, I can tell you that sexuality has NOTHING to do with it. You are confusing sex and gender (not helped by the fact that "male" and "female" are used commonly in overloaded ways, have you spotted that and if not, knowing this now, does it ease your confusion?). Most transgender male-to-female for example, in my experience at least, are cis and adore females. But in any case, why does it matter to you & how does it impact your life?

YOU: "Finally, sex change maimings..."

- Do you consider body piercings, tattoos, scarification also to be maiming?
- Do people have rights over their own body, or should others decide?

YOU: "Most feminists are not speaking against this"

You really haven't taken the trouble to become informed. Many (no, not all by any means) feminists are in fact as bigoted as you.

You seem to cling to a very simplistic world view and fear it being revealed as false. You talk of "transexuals" as all being the same, as "femininsts" as having one mind. The world consists of individuals, every single one of us different. If you can get your head around that for a moment, and learn to accept it, you might find the fear dissipates a bit, as will the hate.

Anonymous

That had to be one of the most obviously ignorant religious zealous that try to pass there misguided opinions as fact I've heard in awhile. The fact they would waste that much of their time to write such a lengthy post about a matter they apparantly know nothing about is mind blowing.

Anonymous

People are offended by me saying that possibly 1 or more of the Orlando victims were pedophiles & or drug dealers. In gay/lesbian pubs-drugs like Meth, Extasy are sold as drug junkyism high among them. With pedophilia, many gays were molested as children which ruined their sexuality & some even turn out to be pedophiles. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out 1 or more of the Orlando victims were pedophiles & or drug dealers. Mass murder is wrong but that doesn’t mean worship the victims. Gay/lesbian groups worship gay pedophile Harvey B. Milk. Now I support free speech right for homosexuals to martyr or worship Harvey B. Milk & I support their free speech right to have rainbow flag.

But gay/lesbian groups have pushed Harvey B. Milk day on others such as Harvey.B. Milk day in schools where school kids worship a gay pedophile & that is wrong. Gay/lesbian groups also try to censor others who tell ugly truths on who Harvey B. Milk & other gay pedophiles were. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Orlando victims thought it’s OK to push H.B. Milk day in schools & I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Orlando victims were apologists for gay/lesbian pedophilia. While most gays & lesbians are not pedophiles, gays & lesbians are more likely to support pedophilia when it’s gay/lesbian as gay groups or their friends such as Shepard Foundation’s JC Marsden, Judy L. Shepard, Big Island Chronicle Tiffany Camille Edwards Hunt, etc. support gay pedophile Methew Wayne Shepard. It’s no surprise that Shepard Foundation’s JC Marsden & Judy L. Shepard also supports gay pedophile H.B. Milk incl. pushing Harvey B. Milk day on schoolkids. No, not all gays & lesbians support pedophilia but honestly, gays & lesbians are more likely to tolerate pedophilia when it’s gay/lesbian. Big Island Chronicle Tiffany Camille Hunt abuses her 2 children so Big Island Chronicle Tiffany Camille Hunt thinks child abuse is OK.

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