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Supreme Court to Settle Transgender Bathroom Dispute

Virginia school board files petition with Supreme Court over transgender student.

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A Virginia school board filed a petition that asks the United States Supreme Court to weigh in on whether one of its student, a transgender male named Gavin Grimm, may use the men’s bathroom and locker rooms.

The case was already ruled upon by the Fourth Circuit in April, which decided against Gloucester County School Board in ruling that Grimm -- referred to as “G.G.” in court documents -- and other transgender students may use whatever bathroom aligns with the identity of their gender. The school board is looking for the High Court to undo the lower court’s ruling.

“Some regard transgender restroom access as one of the great civil rights issues of our time,” reads the school board’s petition. “But that makes it all the more important to insist that federal officials follow the procedures for lawmaking prescribed in the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.”

The Supreme Court -- which is currently on summer recess -- has signaled that it is likely to accept the case: Earlier this month, the high court voted 5-3 to put a hold on the lower court’s ruling that would allow Grimm to use the men’s room.

Grimm is being represented in the case by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We are disappointed that the court has issued a stay and that Gavin will have to begin another school year isolated from his peers and stigmatized by the Gloucester County school board just because he’s a boy who is transgender,” says Joshua Block, an ACLU senior staff attorney. “We remain hopeful that Gavin will ultimately prevail.”

The dispute between the school board and Grimm began in 2014, when students and parents at Grimm’s school complained about his being allowed to use the men’s restroom. The school responded to the complaints by requiring students to only use bathrooms that corresponded to their gender that they received at birth.

The ball is now in the court of Grimm’s lawyers, who have thirty days to respond to the school board’s petition. The Court is likely to announce in the fall whether it will take up the case.

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