Lawyers for Gavin Grimm said the 16-year-old rising junior will appeal a federal judge’s order Friday that denies him the right to use the boys’ restroom when he returns to high school in his rural Virginia county next week.
Grimm will ask the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals for a preliminary injunction against the Gloucester County School Board while the case proceeds in a lower federal court, Josh Block, an ACLU staff attorney representing Grimm, told BuzzFeed News.
“We are deeply disappointed with the court’s decision, and expect it will be reversed on appeal,” Block told BuzzFeed News.
“As a result of the decision," he continued, "Gavin will have to start the school year under a demeaning and stigmatizing policy that relegates him to separate restrooms from his peers. We will appeal as quickly as possible to ensure that Gavin does not have to endure this harmful and stigmatizing policy a single day more than necessary.”
In his two-page order Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert G. Doumar said he was denying Grimm’s request for an injunction — as he indicted he would at a July 27 hearing. Doumar's order states that a memorandum “detailing the reasons for the denial swill be forthcoming shortly.”
In December, the Gloucester County School Board passed a resolution that restricts single-sex facilities to students with a matching “biological gender.” The policy — apparently aimed specifically at Grimm, the only openly transgender student in the rural Virginia district — also provided three gender-neutral restrooms for students who don’t want to use their assigned single-sex restrooms.
Grimm filed a lawsuit against the school board in June, saying the policy was harmful and stigmatizing. He is due to return to school on Sept. 8.
At the July hearing, Doumar dismissed one of Grimm’s key legal arguments. Grimm had argued he must be allowed to use school bathrooms that correspond with his gender identity under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, which bans discrimination based on sex. The federal government has weighed in repeatedly in recently years to say Title IX bans transgender discrimination as a form of sex discrimination.
Doumar indicated he would consider another one of Grimm’s arguments if the case proceeds to trial — a constitutional argument for equal protection. However, Doumar warned Grimm’s lawyers, “[Y]ou have an uphill battle.”
The Gloucester County School Board had filed a motion to dismiss the case outright; Doumar has not issued a written order on that issue but he indicated at the July hearing he would not grant that request, either.
Dominic Holden is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Dominic Holden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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