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

Okay if you disagree so much and are so fucking uninformed about the LGBTQ community why bother to comment and spread your hate? I cringe thinking about if your child was gay or transgender because I'm sure that like the great "Christian" you are you would disown them or maybe use the approach that the VP prefers- shock therapy. Also your comment about more pedophilies being gay/lesbian has absolutely NO basis in reality- open a book and open your mind

Anonymous

I am not a Christian but there are topics where I agree with Christian groups. I agree with Christians on the dangers of gay/lesbian agenda and there are many non-Christians and even some atheists who agree with Evangelical Christians. With homosexuality, if knowing and willing adults want to do gay/lesbian conduct, then its their life. Homosexual/lesbian conduct is bad for health as smoking is and needs to be marginalized like smoking is. They must abolish sex change maimings. I’m against sex changes for the same reason as I oppose trying to make a White person Black or viceversa because they think they were born of another race. Sex changes are a sad waste of science. Sex changes happen because science knows how. If they knew how to change skin color, Drs. would be making the same justifications for changing color of people who think they are of other race as they now do for sex changes. it doesn’t take an expert to know that hormone shots + the maiming surgery damages the body. Transexuals have antisocial personalities.

Anonymous

If you don't hear or read some1 talking religion when speaking against homosexuality/lesbianism, then ask them if they base it on religion & don't assume you know their faith. If a person is not a Christian such as a Muslim, Hindu, etc. There are atheists who are against gay/lesbian conduct, so it is possible to not believe in God & be against gay/lesbian agenda, though religious people are more likely to be against gay/lesbian agenda while atheists are more likely to be apologists for gay/lesbian agenda but not always case so don't assume you know their faith if they didn't say anything religious, as there are atheists who are against gay/lesbian conduct.

Anonymous

Repair therapy for gays and lesbians who want to be straight must be available just as repair therapy must be available for a drug junky who wants to become clean. For a therapy to have best chance of success, the patient has to want it for themselves. If a person goes into therapy because he or she is pressured by peers into this, they are usu. not going to last long because they don’t sincerely want it. If a kid is a junky and he or she doesn’t want therapy to quit drugs, then it’s usu. going to fail because they don’t want it. You can not force a person into therapy minus a court order and even if you do, if they don’t sincerely want it, it’s usu. will fail. While repair therapy to treat gayism, lesbianism often fails, using what you ask, we also should not have repair therapy to treat smoking, drug junkyism, etc. because that often fails. Minors can not be forced into therapy against will-minus a court order such as requiring medicines for a minor who does not want medicines.

Yes, it should also be the right of homosexuals and lesbians not to go into repair therapy just as I support right of tobacco users not to have repair therapy to quit smoking and I support right of any lucid person to refuse medical care such as if a lucid person’s a heart attack victim and does not want open heart surgery, then it should be their right to refuse this. Yes, proof burden is on repair therapists, but if you aren’t going to have repair therapy for homsexuality/lesbianism, then you may as well not have repair therapy for drug junkyism or drunkardism, because such therapy often fails and high relapses. Is it possible for a homosexual or lesbian to change sexual behavior and sexual orientation to heterosexuality? There are gays and lesbians who sincerely believe they changed to heterosexuality and without contrary proof only they know.

Kymber

You are sadly wrong in your opinions and yet you report them here as if they are facts. Trans-gendered adults do not report a higher child sexual abuse in their histories. Nor is this reported as higher in the overall gay community. In fact, it has actually been proven to be the same, or lower than the data on child sexual abuse of heterosexuals. You should do some actual research before coming on here making a fool of yourself when you have no data. Also - in case you don't know, meth and other drugs are actually PRETTY popular in the hetero community as we have people dying on the streets DAILY. Go do some research and find out how many of those deaths are LGBT people and you might figure it out.

Anonymous

Gay & lesbian conduct causes Gay Bowel Syndrome, bacterial vaginosis & gay men more likely to wear diapers as their sex lives make them incontinent. Homosexual/lesbian conduct is bad for health and people who do homosexual/lesbian sexual conduct should pay more for medical insurance just as smokers, obese, etc. pay more for medical insurance due to dangers-homosexual/lesbian sexual conduct is useless, linked to Venereal Diseases (VD) and does not result in procreation. With gay/lesbian conduct by adults, it’s best to find a cure for homosexual/lesbian conduct just as it’s best to find cure for tobacco use. Homosexual/lesbian conduct is bad for health & that doesn't procreate. Gays dirty sex acts make them incontinent with gay bowel syndrome-gays & lesbians often shit in diapers.

A dr sick of th...

O.M.G. What rock did you crawl out from under?? There is no truth medically to any of the allegations in your post! Please crawl back under your rock!

Anonymous

1. Plenty of hetero people have anal sex and don't have to wear diapers. Just like gay men don't have to wear diapers.

2. BV is actually not caused by gay/lesbian sex. It is found in people who are not sexually active as well as those who are hetero.

Anonymous

And yet more straight people do anal than gays. Hmm, better rethink your argument fool!

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.

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