Trans teen Gavin Grimm just won a huge victory in his years-long fight over bathroom use

The school board “singled out and stigmatized" Gavin, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
May 23, 2018, 3:06pm

A Virginia transgender teen won a huge victory Tuesday in his fight for equal rights, when a federal judge refused to dismiss the case he filed three years ago against his school district and ruled its bathroom policies discriminated against him.

Grimm had first sued in 2015 after the school district forced him to use single bathrooms instead of the boys’ public restroom, which corresponds to his gender identity. After the Supreme Court refused to hear Grimm’s case in 2017, the Gloucester County School Board filed a motion to dismiss his complaint entirely.

In her Tuesday ruling, Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen sided with Grimm in his lawsuit against the school board and wrote that the district’s argument that its restroom policies did not discriminate against Grimm was “resoundingly unpersuasive.” Instead, they “singled out and stigmatized Mr. Grimm,” she wrote.

The school board issued a statement that said it was aware of the denial to dismiss Grimm’s lawsuit, but the statement did not specify whether the board would appeal the court’s decision.

Grimm, now 18 and graduated, expressed relief after the court ruled in his favor.

"After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law," Grimm said after the ruling.

The school board, however, does have the option to appeal the decision and continue fighting Grimm’s lawsuit, one of the most prominent legal fights over transgender restroom use in U.S. history.

Grimm’s case had been on its way to the Supreme Court until the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance that said students could use any restroom that corresponds with their gender identities. After Trump rolled back those protections for trans students, the Supreme Court declined to hear Grimm’s case and sent it back to a district court.

Cover image: Gavin Grimm attends the TIME 100 Gala, celebrating the 100 most influential people in the world, at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)