A federal judge in Virginia ruled Friday that a school board’s transgender bathroom ban discriminated against a former student, Gavin Grimm.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk is the latest of several nationwide that have favored transgender students facing similar policies. But the issue remains far from settled in the country as a patchwork of differing policies governs the nation’s schools.
The Gloucester County School Board’s policy required Grimm to use girls’ restrooms or private bathrooms. The judge wrote that Grimm’s rights were violated under the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause as well as under Title IX, the federal policy that protects against gender-based discrimination.
“There is no question that the Board’s policy discriminates against transgender students on the basis of their gender nonconformity,” Allen wrote.
“Under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity,” she continued. “Transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment, and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go.”
Allen’s ruling will likely strengthen similar claims made by students in eastern Virginia. It could have a greater impact if the case goes to an appeals court that oversees Maryland, West Virginia, and the Carolinas.
Harper Jean Tobin, policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said last month that she expected Grimm’s case to join the “steady drumbeat” of recent court rulings favoring transgender students in states including Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
But she said differing transgender bathroom policies are still in place in schools across the country. Those policies are often influenced by court rulings or by states and cities that have passed protections for people who are transgender.
Click here to read more.