The Supreme Court has accepted its first high-profile case since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia Friday, agreeing to review the case of transgender student Gavin Grimm, a 17 year-old who is currently attending public high school in Virginia.
Grimm was born biologically female, but came out as transgender during his freshman year of high school. He sued his school board over a policy that only allows students to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. Grimm argued in his lawsuit that forcing him to use the women’s bathroom violated his civil rights.
“We’re prepared to make our case to the court and to make sure the Supreme Court and people in general see Gavin as who he is and see trans kids across the country for who they are,” said Grimm’s attorney, Joshua Block of the American Civil Liberties Union. “(Grimm) is not trying to dismantle sex-segregated restrooms. He’s just trying to use them.”
The Gloucester County School Board lost the case when it was heard by a lower court, but appealed the decision. The case has the potential to have reverberating effects across the country as the Court is being asked the pivotal question of whether or not transgender people are protected under laws that ban discrimination based on a person’s sex. Based on that determination, schools could lose federal funding if it is decided that this is a form of discrimination.
Conservative groups have argued against transgender students being allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex they identify with.
Gary McCaleb, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed a brief supporting the school board in Virginia, said, “Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students.”
“In light of the right to bodily privacy, federal law should not be twisted to require that a male be given access to the girls’ facilities, or a female to the boys’ facilities,” he continued.
The Supreme Court will hear and give a ruling on the case in June 2017. It is unknown if the court will have a new justice by that time, or if one seat will continue to remain empty.
[Reuters] [Washington Post] [New York Times] [Photo courtesy ACLU]