Day 68: Gavin Grimm and the Transgender Rights Case

Transgender rights are human rights.

DAY 68 ACTION: Learn about the Gavin Grimm case and the fight for transgender rights.

Gavin Grimm, 17, and his mother Deirdre Grimm. The transgender teen sued the Gloucester County, Va. School Board after it barred him from the boys’ bathroom. Credit: Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde (attrib.)

Until recently, the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear G.G. v Gloucester School Board today, a case about whether transgender students must use the bathroom of the gender assigned to them at birth.

Gavin, now a high school senior, sued his school board in 2014, when they refused to let him use the bathroom of his gender identity. He initially lost his challenge, and appealed his case to the 4th Circuit. Meanwhile, in early 2016, Charlotte, NC passed an ordinance banning LGBT discrimination and permitting transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice. But the state legislature retaliated, with a law that revoked Charlotte’s ordinance and required people to use the bathroom of the gender assigned to them at birth. (The controversial “bathroom bill” has cost North Carolina $3.7 billion in economic boycotts.)

In response, the Obama DOJ issued guidance explaining that a transgender student’s right to use the bathroom of their gender identity is protected under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools. The 4th Circuit relied on this guidance in 2016, to rule in Gavin’s favor.

Trump was quick to rescind the Obama Administration guidance. And so, a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the 4th Circuit. With the guidance no longer in place, the Supreme Court wants to know if the lower court believes independently that Title IX prohibits transgender discrimination.

Gavin’s case and the broader issue have attracted national attention, which can make it easy to forget that there’s a (brave) kid at the center of this firestorm. As for other countries, they don’t understand why Americans are so worked up about bathrooms.

Today’s Action: Learn about Gavin’s case and why we should support transgender rights. Talk about it with friends, and on social media!


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