'I'm a Boy, so Why Won't My School Allow Me to Use the Boys' Bathroom?'

UPDATE: Gavin Grimm, a transgender male student at Gloucester High School who will begin his junior year this fall, is not allowed to use the boys’ bathroom. On Monday, July 27, 2015, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia will argue in federal court for an injunction that would permit Gavin to use the male restroom facilities at his school during the pending legal proceedings. Gavin talks about what this case means to him. This is Gavin’s story.

In the summer of my freshman year I got the courage to tell my mother something that I had known for a long time. I told her that I was a boy. She had nothing but love and support for me.

By the time school started, I was ready to go back as my true self – Gavin Elliot Grimm.

At the beginning of the school year, I used the nurse's bathroom. I was afraid of potential harassment and wanted to take things slowly. I soon found out that my fears were not only unfounded, but going to the nurse's bathroom was causing me substantial anxiety and unnecessary inconvenience.

Because many of my classes are located quite far from the nurse's office, trekking back and forth took a good amount of time away from classroom instruction. But what's more, the experience was humiliating. It was a glaring reminder of my differences, one that caused me significant discomfort every time I had to use the restroom.

After approaching my school with these concerns, my principal afforded me the rights of every other boy at Gloucester High School. I was allowed to use the boys' room. Events proceeded without incident. I used the bathroom and left, just like any other student. Not once did an altercation occur in the restrooms.

However, on November 10, my family was informed that my school board would be voting on whether or not to limit the use of male restrooms to those students who correspond with the male sex biologically the following day. No one had informed us of this beforehand. We scrambled to get ready for the meeting the following night, and were relieved to have the vote pushed back to December.

On December 9, despite all the voices in support of me, my school board voted on a discriminatory policy that restricts use of male and female facilities to those of a corresponding biological sex. That night, I was promised access to unisex restrooms starting the following day. They were not actually opened until several days later. The school board may think they solved the problem, but being offered a unisex bathroom still singles me out from other students since I'm the only one required to use it.

I am boy, and it is important to me to live life like other boys do, including using the boys' bathroom. I am disappointed that the school board decided to ignore my best interest, including others in the same situation, and chose to adopt a policy that is discriminatory and spreads fear and misinformation. This needs to stop.

My family contacted the ACLU and is working with them to file a complaint with the Department of Justice in order to make Gloucester High School safer and more inclusive to transgender youth while hopefully encouraging other local schools to do the same.

Learn more about transgender rights and other civil liberty issues: Sign up for breaking news alertsfollow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

View comments (236)
Read the Terms of Use


If you have a penis, then you can use the boy's restroom. Those are the rules. That's what makes you a boy. Nothing else can make you a boy. No matter how many people who make up excuses for you tell you that you are a boy; in actuality you are not UNLESS you have a penis. It's that simple. It's biology.


It's not that simple, you just have to be smart enough to understand that transexuality is biological also. The bathrooms don't say "penis" or "vagina" they say boy or girl, because they're gender-based, not sex-based.


What about individuals with a womb AND a penis? Or ovaries AND a penis?

These people exist. Penis doesn't guarantee biologically male.

In fact, in Biology, male is the sex that produces "motile gametes" (i.e. in humans, sperm), while female produces "immotile gametes".

So, do we suggest taking a biopsy of everyone's gonads prior to assigning bathroom privileges?


So men who lose their penis in an accident or to disease are women and have to use the ladies room?


What ever your DNA says is what you are.

Paul Dreher-Wiberg

Dear Anonymous, I used my name, because I have no respect for anyone who hides behind anonymity. Your "opinion" is not actually an opinion at all; you are simply factually wrong. Check it out with the American Psychological Association. He is a boy, Period. You have no voice in the matter.


So if a man has his penis removed, or loses it due to disease or accident, then he must use the girl's restroom? How about intersex people or people born without genitals at all? If you think all that makes boys boys and girls girls is what's between their legs then I hope you don't breed with whatever's between yours.


So if you lose your penis to cancer, accident or disease does that then make you a girl?


You are so nieve. People have rights to he whomever they want to be. If they identify as a male then they should be able to use the which ever bathroom they feel comfortable using. How would you like to see a what you would identify as a male using a females restroom. Are you going to walk up to them and say sir or madam do you have a vagina? Are you authorized to use this bathroom. No you're going to go about your day. Who cares


Your refusal to separate gender identity from reproductive anatomy is irrelevant.


Stay Informed