SCOTUS Sends Back Virginia Transgender Student Case

Gavin Grimm lawsuit against Gloucester County School Board heading to SCOTUS

The Supreme Court just vacated the ruling in a case involving transgender student rights sending the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.  The decision not to hear arguments in the case follows the Trump administration’s move to rescind the Obama administration’s Title IX guidelines outlining protections for trans students. The refusal to hear the case marks one of the most high-profile harms the transgender youth community has suffered at the hands of Donald Trump’s administration to date.

The Washington Post noted:

The justices were scheduled to hear the case later this month. But after the federal government’s position changed, the court said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit should reconsider the dispute between the Gloucester County school board and 17-year-old Gavin Grimm.

The 4th Circuit had relied on the federal government’s guidance that school should let transgender students use the bathroom that corresponds with the student’s gender identity.

Gavin Grimm – a transgender teenager who has become one of the most prominent faces in the transgender rights movement – brought the case after he was initially allowed, then denied use of gender segregated facilities at his high school.

Prior to their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia lost before a three judge panel in the Fourth Circuit in trying to argue for the right to discriminate.

Grimm sued the school district over their “separate but equal” style accommodations forcing transgender students to use “alternative, private” bathrooms that often require trans students to go out of their way merely to use the restroom. Just as separate restrooms and fountains were unconstitutional when states segregated by race, they’re also unconstitutional when singling out transgender students to use alternative and often out of the way facilities that draw more attention and harassment than they quell.

That court’s 2-1 decision will now be revisited thanks to the Trump administration’s insistence that states best “protect” civil rights.


Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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