September 8, 2015

TLDEF Denounces Ruling Allowing Virginia High School to Bar Transgender Teen From Boys' Restroom

New York, NY - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) denounces a federal court ruling that prevents 16-year-old Gavin Grimm from using the boys’ restroom at Gloucester High School in Virginia as he starts back to school. On September 4, 2015, U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar denied a preliminary injunction requested by Gavin’s attorneys that would allow him to use the boys’ restroom at school as his discrimination lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board continues. Gavin is a transgender boy who was denied the use of the boys’ restroom by the Gloucester County School Board in December 2014 and subsequently sued the board for sex discrimination. As a result of the court’s ruling, Gavin must use a unisex bathroom as classes begin today, separating him from his peers.

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“We are extremely troubled by this decision that bans Gavin Grimm from using the bathroom that matches who he is as a young man. It singles Gavin out for discrimination and sends a disturbing message that he should be treated differently than other kids in school, simply because of who he is.

“Having helped many young people experiencing discrimination in their schools, we know the importance of ensuring that transgender students are in school environments that allow them to thrive. That includes allowing them to use bathrooms and other facilities that align with their authentic selves.

“As evidenced by the Colorado Civil Rights Division decision in the Coy Mathis case, as well as other favorable outcomes in California and Maine, a growing number of courts and agencies are ruling in favor of the rights of transgender students.

“The court’s decision to prohibit Gavin from using the boys’ restroom is out of step with model school district policies which state that students should have access to facilities that correspond to their gender identity. It is a threat to Gavin’s health and well-being and we hope it is swiftly overturned on appeal.”