The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor on Wednesday of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student from Virginia who was denied the ability to use the restroom he felt best fit his gender identity.
The ruling is the most recent update in a case that has gone on for five years. Along with the ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia, Grimm filed a suit in 2015 against his school board, the Gloucester County School Board, over a policy that prohibited trans students from using whichever restroom they felt most aligned with their gender identity. The school board proposed separate bathrooms for transgender students, as well as a policy denying trans students correct transcripts; however, both policies violate Title IX and are unconstitutional.
“After the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, we have little difficulty holding that a bathroom policy precluding Grimm from using the boys restrooms discriminated against him ‘on the basis of sex,'” reads the ruling.
Grimm’s case may have been filed in 2015, but it began back in his sophomore year of high school. At that time, Grimm and his mother informed the school of his need to use the boys’ restroom — a request that administrators actually accommodated at first. However, after outcry from parents and community residents hit a peak in 2014, the Gloucester County School Board voted in favor of restricting restroom use to the sex assigned at birth, regardless of current identity. During the making of this decision, the ACLU threatened legal action, though it did not stop the policy from being implemented.
In 2017, Grimm’s case was supposed to be heard by the Supreme Court, but arguments were canceled after the Trump administration rescinded a rule that protected trans students’ rights under Title IX by directing schools to let students use restrooms that fit their gender identity. After its cancellation, the case was sent back to the Fourth Circuit to be reviewed once again.
“All transgender students should have what I was denied: the opportunity to be seen for who we are by our schools and our government,” said Grimm in a recent statement. “Today’s decision is an incredible affirmation for not just me, but for trans youth around the country.”