The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board for adopting a discriminatory bathroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers. The policy effectively expels trans students from communal restrooms and requires them to use “alternative private” restroom facilities.
The case was filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a transgender male student at Gloucester High School who will graduate in 2017. The lawsuit argues the bathroom policy is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment and violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.
As part of Gavin’s medical treatment for severe gender dysphoria, Gavin and his mother notified administrators of his male gender identity at the beginning of his sophomore year so that he could socially transition in all aspects of his life. With permission from school administrators, Gavin used the boys’ restroom for almost two months without any incident. But after receiving complaints from some parents and residents of Gloucester County, the school board adopted the new policy on December 9, 2014, by a vote of 6-1, despite warnings from the ACLU.
A motion for preliminary injunction was filed asking the court to rule in time for Gavin to be able to use the same restroom as other boys at Gloucester High School when classes resumed for the 2015-16 school year. The district court denied the injunction and dismissed Gavin’s claim under Title IX. That decision was appealed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the lower court's decision was overturned in August of 2016. Gloucester County School Board has petitioned for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Fourth Circuit's mandate has been stayed pending the court's decision on the petition.
The ACLU previously filed a federal discrimination complaint with the Department of Justice and Department of Education in December 2014.
Update (3/6/17): The Supreme Court announced that it is sending Gavin's case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be reconsidered in light of the Departments of Justice and Education rescinding of a Title IX guidance clarifying protections for transgender students.
Supreme Court Sends Case Back Down to Appeals CourtMarch 6, 2017
The Supreme Court announced that it is sending Gavin's case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be reconsidered in light of the Departments of Justice and Education rescinding of a Title IX guidance clarifying protections for transgender students.
Supreme Court will hear caseOctober 28, 2016
On October 28, 2016, the Supreme Court announced it will review the decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Case stayed by Supreme CourtAugust 3, 2016
On August 3, The Supreme Court granted an “emergency” stay to stop Gavin from using the boys’ restroom at school.
VictoryApril 19, 2016
On April 19, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of Gavin and held that Title IX protects the rights of transgender students to use sex segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. The Fourth Circuit also remanded the case for the district court to reevaluate Gavin’s request for a preliminary injunction under the proper legal standard.
Appeals Court (4th Cir.) - Remanded
- 05/15/2017Amicus Briefs in Support of Plaintiff-Appellant
- 05/15/2017Amicus Briefs in Support of Defendant-Appellee
The Supreme Court of The United States
- 03/01/2017Amicus Briefs in Support of Respondent
- 01/24/2017Motion for Divided Argument
- 01/18/2017Lodging of Non-Record Material
- 01/09/2017Amicus Briefs in Support of Petitioner
- 01/06/2017Amicus Briefs in Support of Neither Party
- 09/27/2016Amicus Briefs in Support of School Board Petition
Appeals Court (4th Cir.)
- 11/30/2015Amicus Briefs in Support of Defendant
- 10/28/2015Amicus Briefs in Support of Plaintiff
District Court (E.D. Va.)