Federal Court Sides with Obama, Forces VA School to Let Transgender Student Choose Bathroom

This week a federal court sided with a transgender student who insisted that the Obama administration’s reading of federal Title IX rules would allow her to choose her own bathroom at her Virginia high school.

Gavin Grimm, 16, a student at Gloucester High School in Gloucester, Virginia, demanded the district allow her to use the boys restroom because she identifies as a male. School officials, though, denied the request in December.

After a period of public discussion, Gloucester school district officials decided in a 6-to-1 vote that school bathrooms should be used only by those students whose sex corresponds to the gender the facility is designated to serve.

But the student took the case to a federal court, citing federal Title IX sex discrimination rules. Grimm maintained that the federal government can force schools to allow transgender students to choose whatever bathroom they feel like using.

After hearing the case, in a 2-to-1 ruling the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the student, saying a lower court should have agreed with the student’s interpretation of the federal discrimination rules.

In a public statement the student said she felt “vindicated” by the newest ruling.

“Today’s decision gives me hope that my fight will help other kids avoid discriminatory treatment at school,” the student said.

In the same statement, the Virginia ACLU said the decision “reinforces” the Obama Department of Education’s interpretation of the policy.

“With this decision,” the VA ACLU said, “we hope that schools and legislators will finally get the message that excluding transgender kids from the restrooms is unlawful sex discrimination.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality also celebrated the ruling, saying the decision is “a very important decision that promotes fairness and dignity for all students.”

The Appeals Court ruling means that the original lower court will have to revisit its ruling to correspond to the upper court’s decision.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com


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