Judge rules in favor of student in Virginia transgender bathroom case

Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 09, 2019

A federal judge in Virginia ruled in favor of a transgender former student, telling a county school board it must recognize him as male, in a win for transgender rights.

The judge ruled Friday that the board had violated the constitutional rights of former Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm, who is now 20 and a graduate of the school.

Grimm transitioned about four years ago, and during his sophomore year he was dressing as male and using boys' restrooms at school.

He alleged the county school board put in place a policy that banned him from using either girls' or boys' restrooms, after it received complaints from others in the community. The school constructed single-stall, unisex restrooms that he could use, but they weren't available in all parts of the grounds, according to court documents.

The judge, Arenda Wright Allen, awarded him one dollar in damages and told the school district to pay his court fees. The district also must update his records to indicate he is male.

"However well-intentioned some external challenges may have been and however sincere worries were about possible unknown consequences arising from a new school restroom protocol, the perpetuation of harm to a child stemming from unconstitutional conduct cannot be allowed to stand," the judge wrote on Friday.

Allen added, "These acknowledgments are made in the hopes of making a positive difference to Mr. Grimm and to the everyday lives of our children who rely upon us to protect them compassionately and in ways that more perfectly respect the dignity of every person."

Grimm has emphasized in previous interviews that he was just like any other teenager, telling CNN in 2016 that "I'm nothing particularly threatening or extraordinary, I'm just another 17-year-old kid."

He lamented how the bathroom controversy "has extended throughout my entire high school experience almost, and it's one that I'd just like to finish so that I can think about high school things -- I can think about being a senior and graduating and going to college."

"The bottom line is I'm a boy like anybody else," he added. "I'm not a freak -- my very existence is not a perversion. I'm just a person who is trying to live his life like anybody else, and that I have to think about my bathroom usage is unacceptable."