Transgender bathroom ban heard by federal appeals court

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Gavin Grimm, transgender teen fighting to use the bathroom of his choice, Photo Date: 2/3/2017 ACLU

A lawyer for a former female Virginia high school student who wants to be male claimed his client was being treated differently from other students when she was barred from using the boys’ bathroom — just like all the other girls. 

ABC News reports that the Gloucester County School Board defended its transgender bathroom ban before a federal appeals court on May 26, as Gavin Grimm, as the girl likes to be called, argued that the policy discriminated against her and violated her constitutional rights.

A judge ruled last year that the school board had discriminated against Grimm, but the board appealed the ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

School board lawyer David Corrigan said school officials treated Grimm with respect after she began “transitioning” from female to male during high school, accommodating her request for everyone around her to call her by male pronouns and call her by her preferred name.

Grimm underwent breast removal surgery and hormone therapy. She also secured a Virginia court order and Virginia birth certificate declaring her sex as male in 2016, when she was a 12th-grader.

Grimm’s lawsuit alleged that the school board violated her equal protection rights as well as Title IX, the federal policy that prohibits gender-based discrimination.

Corrigan argued that the law protects against discrimination based on actual sex, not gender identity. Corrigan said that because Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and still had female genitalia, the board’s position was that she remained anatomically a female.

Joshua Block, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the board treated Grimm differently than other students when it required her to use separate but unequal facilities — either bathrooms that corresponded with her biological sex or private bathrooms.

“They were stigmatizing and humiliating,” Block said. “It’s stigmatizing to be excluded from the facilities that everyone else uses.”

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