The lawsuit around a transgender teenager's right to use the public, male bathrooms in his Virginia high school was set to move forward this week even though a federal judge dismissed part of the case Monday. U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar said that the Gloucester Public Schools were not violating the Title IX anti-discrimination law but said he was not inclined to reject the rest of the complaint. The debate over Gavin Grimm's constitutional rights will likely continue, the Daily Press reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union was suing on behalf of Grimm, a 16-year-old junior at Gloucester High School, about an hour from Richmond. Grimm was born female but diagnosed with gender dysmorphia his freshman year. He began identifying as male, and at first the school backed him. Teachers used his male name and let him use the boys' bathrooms. But his bathroom privileges were revoked after his peers' parents complained.
In response, the school board issued a new rule on bathroom access -- only girls and boys could use girls' and boys' bathrooms, respectively. Students with "gender identity issues" had to use private facilities, which Grimm has said is embarrassing and inconvenient.
— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) July 27, 2015
Grimm and the ACLU filed suit last month, arguing that the Gloucester policy is unconstitutional under the 14th amendment and Title IX law, which prevents discrimination based on sex at federally funded schools. They also asked that the school issue a preliminary injunction fixing the policy before Grimm starts school in the fall, according to previous International Business Times reporting. The Department of Justice chimed in and sided with Grimm.
Judge Doumar threw out the Title IX argument Monday because he said it allows for separate bathrooms for different sexes. Doumar also said it was "highly unlikely" he would issue the preliminary injunction because he doesn't think the policy causes irreparable harm, BuzzFeed News reported. Instead, he'll likely issue a written opinion and set a trial date. “I have no problem with transgender. I have a lot of problems with sex,” Doumar said. “I am convinced he is a biological female who wants to be a male.”
In a statement after the hearing, the ACLU said it was happy the case was likely moving forward because it wants to see schools treat all students equally. "Gavin’s case has the potential to advance the rights of all transgender students in Virginia, and we are proud to stand with him," said Virginia ACLU legal director Rebecca Glenberg.