On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case over transgender students’ right to use school bathrooms, leaving intact a lower court decision that allows transgender students to use the restrooms that match their gender identity.
While this does not mean that the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court’s decision, it does maintain a victory for LGBTQ+ rights for the time being. It also ends Gavin Grimm’s seven-year long battle to defend his right to use the men’s restroom.
In 2015, then-high school student Gavin Grimm, a transgender man, sued his school board for denying him the right to use the men’s bathroom at school. The board had initially permitted Grimm to use the men’s restroom, but after receiving complaints from parents, created a policy mandating that transgender students could only use the restrooms that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth.
Under the new rule, Grimm could only use the women’s restroom or a unisex restroom, preventing him from using the bathroom that corresponded to his gender.
Grimm argued that the school board’s decision was a direct violation of Title IX’s Equal Protection Clause, which prevents schools from discriminating against students based on their sex. The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Grimm’s favor, affirming transgender students’ right to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
The school board appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, who has decided not to hear the case.
Now a high-school graduate, Grimm, 22, is relieved that his victory in the lower courts has been protected. In a statement Monday, Grimm said, “I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over. Being forced to use the nurse’s room, a private bathroom, and the girl’s room was humiliating for me, and having to go to out-of-the-way bathrooms severely interfered with my education.”
He noted how the Supreme Court’s decision not only affects him, but the entire transgender community. “It brought a feeling of jubilation, a feeling of togetherness immediately within my community. I didn’t just feel the win for me, I felt the win for all of the transgender students and transgender people across the nation,” Grimm said.
“Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials.”
Sources: CNN 6/28/21; Washington Post 6/28/21; NPR 6/28/21