Transgender teen’s case heard before appeals court

(WAVY Photo)




RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — A Gloucester teen’s battle for the right to use the boy’s restroom went before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond Wednesday morning.

Gavin Grimm’s attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th District to overturn a Norfolk federal judge’s ruling — which banned him from using the boy’s bathroom.

“I can say I did not set out to make waves,” Grimm said. “I set out to use the bathroom.  It’s not easy, but I will do my best to help anyone that I can,” Grimm added.

Grimm was born a female, but identifies as a male.

In December of 2014, the Gloucester County School Board adopted a new policy, which requires students to use bathrooms based on their biology, not gender.

Grimm said that made him feel uncomfortable, and the ACLU sued on his behalf. They sought a preliminary injunction, which would have allowed him to use the boy’s bathroom until a possible trial, but last year a Norfolk federal judge ruled in favor of the school board.

“It is a tremendously difficult experience for anyone and even more difficult experience for a kid and Gavin is an absolute inspiration,” said ACLU attorney Josh Block.

The ACLU has filed an appeal, and wants the appeals court to settle the disagreement.

“It’s stigmatizing and dehumanizing,” Grimm said. “It is basically saying there is something wrong with you that makes it so that you can not use the rest room like any other kid.”

Oral arguments were scheduled to be heard by the court Wednesday morning. The ACLU and Grimm held a news conference immediately following Wednesday’s court hearing.

“It is my personal hope that this will be resolved before I leave the school so that someone anything can be done to prevent this situation from happening again,” Grimm added.

Block believes the judges could take anywhere between two and four months to make a ruling.  If Grimm loses, his next step could be the Supreme Court.

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