Federal Court of Appeals Rules In Favor of Transgender Student in Virginia Restroom Access Case

Affiliate: ACLU of Virginia
April 19, 2016 1:30 pm


ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Virginia
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal court of appeals today ruled in favor of transgender male student Gavin Grimm in his challenge to Gloucester High School’s discriminatory restroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers by requiring them to use “alternative, private” facilities.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit marks the first time that a federal appeals court has determined that Title IX protects the rights of transgender students to use sex segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. The Fourth Circuit sent the case back to the district court to reevaluate Gavin’s request for a preliminary injunction under the proper legal standard.

“I feel so relieved and vindicated by the court’s ruling,” said Grimm. “Today’s decision gives me hope that my fight will help other kids avoid discriminatory treatment at school.”

“Today’s Fourth Circuit decision is a vindication for Gavin and a reinforcement of the Department of Education’s policy., said Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project. “With this decision, we hope that schools and legislators will finally get the message that excluding transgender kids from the restrooms is unlawful sex discrimination.”

“Gavin’s fight has been a beacon of hope in the face of increasingly hostile rhetoric against transgender people in Virginia, and across the nation,” said Gail Deady, The Secular Society women’s rights legal fellow at the ACLU of Virginia. “The court’s ruling sends a strong message to schools and lawmakers that discriminatory restroom policies don’t just harm transgender students, they put Title IX funding at risk.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia brought the case in June 2015 seeking a preliminary injunction so that Gavin may use the boys’ restroom when school resumed for his junior year. In September, U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar ruled against Gavin by dismissing his Title IX claim but allowed his case, under the Equal Protection claim, to proceed.

The ruling can be found at: http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/nlj/GLOUCESTER_CA4_20160420.pdf

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

The Latest in LGBTQ Rights

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About LGBTQ Rights

LGBTQ issue image

The ACLU works to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people can live openly without discrimination and enjoy equal rights, personal autonomy, and freedom of expression and association.