High School student, Gavin Grimm has become a symbol of transgender activism throughout the United States and is being praised for pursuing legal action following his victory in the fight for equal access to bathrooms in schools.
Grimm who took the Gloucester County School Board to court following their attempt to discriminate against transgender students, says he has been fighting the school boards policy since he was 15-years-old.
Ruling in favour of Grimm, a federal court in Virginia rejected the Gloucester County School Board’s policy of discrimination, which saw Grimm being barred from using the boys’ bathroom at his high school when he came out as trans.
The court ruled that both the United States Constitution and the 1972 Title IX law protect transgender students from being excluded from common restrooms.
Judge Arenda Wright also added that the school board had “singled out and stigmatised Mr Grimm,” referencing one school board hearing on the issue when Grimm was publicly called “a freak” and compared to a dog.
Speaking about his legal victory. Grimm says, “I feel an incredible sense of relief.”
“After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law.”
Grimm adds, “I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through.”
Joshua Block, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU, which represented Grimm, welcomed the court’s decision, highlighting that “these sorts of discriminatory policies do nothing to protect privacy and only serve to harm and humiliate transgender students.”
The judge has ordered the two parties to meet in the next 30 days to come to a settlement in the matter. It is not yet clear if the school board will fight the ruling.
Last year, Grimm was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.