It wasn’t but a few short weeks ago when Laverne Cox took to the Grammy stage to make sure we googled Gavin Grimm, and after we did, we were all looking forward to March 28th.
To refresh your memory, Gavin is a transgender student at Gloucester High School in Virginia who was originally allowed to use the male restroom with the permission of his principal, but was later denied when an anonymous community member spoke out and alerted the school board who, then, called for a meeting - that Gavin attended - where he was called a freak and compared to a dog that urinates on fire hydrants. To no surprise, the meeting ended with a 6-1 school board vote that implemented a policy that stated, “bathrooms shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders and students with gender identity issues shall be provided an alternative appropriate private facility banning them from it.” The private facility that was then provided to Gavin at his high school was an old and dusty broom closet where the school decided to install a toilet and call it a unisex bathroom - as if the language used in the policy wasn’t already distasteful enough. He decided to sue against the school board and after his case circulated for over two years through lower level courts, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed to hear the case on the 28th of this month.
Well, in a disappointing bombshell turn of events, the Supreme Court has taken the case off their table and we can blame Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions for it as they made their decision due to the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice in late-February. After successfully being appointed as the Attorney General of the United States, Sessions - who is passionately anti-LGBTQ+ - moved swiftly, despite the disapproval of Betsy DeVos and with the aid of Trump, to withdraw the previous Obama administration guidelines that protected the discrimination of transgender students. In addition to not taking the case, the Supreme Court justices knocked down the original ruling by a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that granted Gavin the right to use the men’s bathroom and asked them to judge the case again.
Fortunately, enough, this doesn’t mean that Grimm’s case won’t eventually end up in the Supreme Court, but what it does mean is 1) SCOTUS passed on its opportunity to ultimately end discrimination against transgender students and provide clarity on the protection it provides when it comes to the matter, and 2) trans rights opponents now have the ball in their court as the case must now be decided solely on Title IX which has the potential to tip the scale in their favor.
It seems that we’ll just have to continue standing by and biting our nails in anticipation for the outcome. Stay strong Gavin!
Read the Supreme Court document discussing its ruling here.
**If you are reading this story and identify as transgender, know that you are equal and you are loved. You deserve - at all times - to be respected, treated fairly, and feel safe no matter the location! -xoxo