Gavin Grimm a transgender male senior will have to use the ladies room, or a staff single stall restroom when he returns to high school this fall.
The supreme court issued a stay yesterday overruling the 4th district appeals court order allowing Grimm to use the men’s room until the lower court could rule on the case. This stay will remain in effect until at least October when it is decided by the supreme court whether it will take the case. The Glouster school district had requested the stay arguing that allowing Grimm to use the men’s room would cause “irreparable harm” and violate the privacy of students.
The court ruled in favor of the school board by a margin of 5-3 with one moderately conservative judge joining the ultra right wing casting the need 5th vote. While it is important to note that this stay is not a ruling on the overall case, it is also important to understand that the action by the supreme court does not bode well for equality.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia filed a lawsuit June 2015 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 begin his senior year this fall. 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.
asked the supreme court to take the case and to instate a stay requiring Grimm to use the restroom that places him at greatest risk.
Buzzfeed reports that the stay will remain in effect until it decides whether to grant the school board’s forthcoming certiorari petition asking the Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision. If the court agrees to hear the case, the stay will remain in effect until there is a ruling in the case. If the court decides not to hear the case, the stay will end at that time.
The school board issued a brief statement, noting that it “welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision as the new school year approaches. The Board continues to believe that its resolution of this complex matter fully considered the interests of all students and parents in the Gloucester County school system.”
The ACLU, which is representing Grimm, expressed disappointment at the Supreme Court’s action.
“We are disappointed that the court has issued a stay and that Gavin will have to begin another school year isolated from his peers and stigmatized by the Gloucester County school board just because he’s a boy who is transgender,” ACLU senior staff attorney Joshua Block said in a statement. “We remain hopeful that Gavin will ultimately prevail.”