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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Supreme Court to Rule on Transgender Rights

(CN) - The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to take up the case of a Virginia school board that wants to prevent a transgender teenager from using the boys' bathroom in his high school.

The case involving the Gloucester County school board and student Gavin Grimm is a first for the high court.

A federal judge dismissed Grimm's Title IX discrimination claim, siding with the school board which argued Grimm's use the boys restroom raised privacy concerns and could cause some parents to pull their children out of school.

The Fourth Circuit reversed that ruling, holding that the judge erred by not ignoring an Education Department's guidance that said transgender students should be allowed to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identities.

In August a divided Supreme Court put that order on hold while they considered whether to hear the appeal.

At the time, Justice Stephen Breyer said he was providing a fifth vote to go along with the four more conservative justices to "preserve the status quo" until the court decided whether to weigh in. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

The justices will hear the case sometime next year, in the meantime, Grimm will be barred from using the bathroom of his choice.

Grimm was born female, but identifies as a male. He was allowed to use the boys' bathroom at his high school for a brief time in 2014, but after some parents complained, the school board adopted a policy that requires students to use either the restroom that corresponds with their birth gender, or a private, single-stall restroom.

Grimm contends the policy violates Title IX, the federal law that bars sex discrimination in schools. The Obama administration agrees.

In an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Thursday, Grimm said he suffers daily because the school board's action made his bathroom use "a matter of public debate."

"I feel the humiliation every time I need to use the restroom and every minute I try to 'hold it' in the hopes of avoiding the long walk to the nurse's office," Grimm said.

In September, 18 state attorneys general joined the governors of Kentucky and North Carolina Wednesday in supporting a challenge of the Department of Education's mandate that schools allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identify.

As is their custom the Supreme Court did not elaborate on why it decided to take up the case.

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