Federal Judge Sides With Transgender Teen In Landmark Bathroom Case

In 2015, transgender teen Gavin Grimm filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County school board in Virginia after he was banned from using the male-designated bathroom. On Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018, a federal judge ruled in Grimm’s favor, stating the school board violated his rights when they refused to let him use the boys’ bathroom.

Grimm was 15-years-old when he first filed the lawsuit after the incident at Gloucester high school, seeking nominal damages and validation that what the school did to him was wrong. Initially, a different federal judge sided with the school board, but an appeals court ruled in Grimm’s favor. The court cited an Obama-era directive that said students could use whichever bathroom corresponded with their gender identity. The Trump administration later overturned the directive, forcing the supreme court to back out of the case. 

District court Judge Arenda Wright Allen declined the school board’s request to have the case dismissed, stating that the board “singled out and stigmatized Mr. Grimm.” She cited federal laws that protected him from discrimination, including Title IX, and wrote in her 30-page ruling that the board’s argument that it acted in the best interest of its students’ privacy rights “rings hollow.” Wright ordered lawyers for Grimm and the school district to schedule a conference within a month to discuss settlement.

After fighting the Gloucester County school board for three years, Grimm was relieved to finally have an official ruling that states “what the [school] did to me was wrong and it was against the law.” Now 19-years-old, Grimm he finally feels “an incredible sense of relief.” 

The landmark ruling may be a step in the right direction for transgender rights, but not everybody is on board for what that ultimately means. While some are just a little put off by the ruling, there are those that seem oddly offended that Grimm got the validation he was looking for. 

Some have a rather extremist (read: ignorant) view of the news, citing the argument that this sort of ruling opens the door for predators.

Let’s not focus on the negative, however. Grimm is celebrating and, quite frankly, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t.