Gavin Grimm Transgender Case goes to Supreme Court

There was nothing remarkable about Gavin Grimm’s first trip to the boys’ bathroom at Gloucester High School. It was a little more than a month into his sophomore year, when the transgender teenager had begun quietly reintroducing himself to the student body as a boy.

Grimm had used men’s restrooms at restaurants, stores and the local amusement park, and using the boys’ bathroom at his school felt like “the natural progression of things,” he said. Just like cutting his hair short, just like wearing baggy pants and graphic T-shirts, just like beginning testosterone shots. He started using the boys’ bathroom shortly after he got word from Principal Nate Collins that it would be okay.

But that decision to use the boys’ bathroom one fall day in 2014 clashed with this town’s sensibilities and led to an acrimonious public debate. Now, Grimm’s case has made this quiet, out-of-the-way community in Virginia’s Tidewater region the unlikely center of the national debate over how public schools should accommodate transgender students.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday it will hear a school board’s appeal of a lower court decision affirming transgender students’ access to facilities appropriate for their gender identity — and if it lets that decision stand, it will be a major victory for  transgender rights  relating to students.

After Donald Trump‘s election, there was some question about whether the court would uphold last October’s decision to hear the case of transgender teen Gavin Grimm, who is suing his Virginia high school for the right to use the restroom and locker room that corresponds with his gender.

The justices are scheduled to hear the case on March 28 and Grimm is preparing for the spotlight. Grimm was initially allowed to use the boys’ restroom at his high school, but after receiving complaints, the school board adopted a policy requiring students to use the restroom that corresponds with their sex assigned at birth or be segregated to a single-stall restroom.

His case drew headlines as it advanced from remarks before the school board to federal courts. That’s because it’s not just Grimm’s life on the line. The Supreme Court’s ruling could settle, one way or another, the debate over whether transgender people should be regarded as the gender they say they are, and allowed equal access to public spaces like restrooms, for years to come.

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