Federal appeals court strikes down Virginia school’s transgender bathroom policy as unconstitutional

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A federal appeals court on Wednesday tossed out a Virginia school board’s policy on transgender bathroom use, saying it unconstitutionally discriminated against a male transgender high school student who was banned from using the restroom of his choice and handing a major win to the LGBT community.

The ruling in the lawsuit against Virginia’s Gloucester County by student Gavin Grimm comes on the heels of a June Supreme Court decision banning job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“At the heart of this appeal is whether equal protection and Title IX can protect transgender students from school bathroom policies that prohibit them from affirming their gender,” the 4th Circuit U-S Court of Appeals said in its ruling. “We join a growing consensus of courts in holding that the answer is resoundingly yes.”

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Grimm, a transgender male who is now in college, was forced to use the girls’ restroom or a private restroom and was prohibited from using the men’s room at Gloucester High School as a result of the school’s policy, despite the fact that he underwent chest reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy as part of his transition.

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 23, 2019, file photo, Gavin Grimm, who has become a national face for transgender students, speaks during a news conference. (Kristen Zeis/The Daily Press via AP, File)

FILE – In this Tuesday, July 23, 2019, file photo, Gavin Grimm, who has become a national face for transgender students, speaks during a news conference. (Kristen Zeis/The Daily Press via AP, File)
(AP)

Grimm’s lawsuit was backed by President Barack Obama’s administration and was scheduled to go before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017, but the hearing was canceled after President Trump rescinded an Obama-era directive that students can choose the restroom they deem fit according to their gender identity.

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Grimm’s lawsuit has been used as a federal test about discriminatory policies against transgender students and may set a precedent for similar cases in the future.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Grimm, celebrated the federal appeals court ruling, saying it “will continue to fight until all trans and nonbinary people are free to be who we are in school.”

“A federal appeals court has again ruled in favor of our client Gavin Grimm, whose high school discriminated against him for being trans,” the ACLU tweeted. “We will continue to fight until all trans and nonbinary people are free to be who we are in school.”

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Vandana Rambaran and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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