The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of a former high school student who challenged his Virginia school district’s bathroom policy.
Gavin Grimm was a sophomore at Gloucester County High School when he filed a federal lawsuit against the Gloucester County School District’s policy that prohibited students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that did not correspond with their “biological gender.”
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond in 2016 ruled in Grimm’s favor.
The Supreme Court in 2017 was scheduled to hear oral arguments in his case, but the justices sent it back to the 4th Circuit after then-President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.
A federal judge in 2019 ruled in favor of Grimm, but the Gloucester County School District appealed the decision. The 4th Circuit in August 2020 once again ruled in favor of Grimm.
“I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over,” said Grimm in an American Civil Liberties Union press release. “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. Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials.”
Josh Block, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ and HIV Project, in the press release noted it “is the third time in recent years that the Supreme Court has allowed appeals court decisions in support of transgender students to stand.”
“This is an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country,” said Block. “Our work is not yet done, and the ACLU is continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country.”
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David also praised the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Everyone has the right to high-quality, public education without the fear of being discriminated against simply for being brave enough to show up as you truly are,” said David. “This is a battle Gavin Grimm has been fighting for over four years — we are grateful that his resilience, courage and determination has finally been rewarded.”
The Supreme Court’s decision in the Grimm case comes against the backdrop of bills in Florida and other states that ban trans athletes from participating in high school and college sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.
The Loudoun County School Board last month suspended a physical education teacher who said he would not use a student’s preferred pronouns to refer to them. The teacher has been reinstated, but efforts to implement a Virginia Department of Education directive to school districts to make their policies more trans-friendly have been met with vocal opposition.
The Biden administration on June 16 officially announced that Title XI prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ students.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.