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Tipsheet

Supreme Court May Rule On Transgender Bathroom Case

The transgender bathroom debate has been a very controversial and heated debate, and it looks like the debate may soon be decided by the Supreme Court. A Virginia school board has filed an emergency appeal to Chief Justice John Roberts to stop a transgender male student from using the male bathroom. 

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The Gloucester County School Board believes that allowing Gavin Grimm, a 17-year old transgender male, to use a male restroom infringes on parents constitutional rights.

"Depriving parents of any say over whether their children should be exposed to members of the opposite biological sex, possibly in a state of full or complete undress, in intimate settings deprives parents of their right to direct the education and upbringing of their children," wrote the school board's attorneys. 

Grimm was born female but identifies as male, and he was allowed to use the male restroom at the school for several weeks in 2014. After the school board received numerous complaints from parents they decided to revoke this privilege, and they implemented a policy that requires to students to use either the restroom that corresponds to their biological gender or a private single-stall bathroom. 

This policy led Grimm to sue the school because he believed that they were violating federal education discrimination with this policy. Grimm is being represented by ACLU lawyers in this lawsuit.

"It is sad that the school board members and their lawyers have so little regard for the impact their misguided actions are having on a real teenager's life," said Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, the executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. "We will continue to stand with Gavin and other young people suffering such cruelties and indignities."

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The case has already made it to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, who sided with Grimm in April. The court said that a previous federal judge who rejected Grimm's Title IX discrimination claim had ignored the recent Department of Education rule that transgender student be allowed to use the restrooms that match the gender they identify with. The court gave Grimm an injunction to allow him to use the male bathroom.

Transgender students feel that they should be allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity because it is necessary for them to feel comfortable. Opponents of the Obama administration rule feel that it raises safety concerns and violates student's privacy.

This case is not the only court case at the moment involving transgender bathrooms, but it is the only case that might reach the Supreme Court.

If Chief Justice Roberts accepts the appeal, either he can directly act on the appeal or ask the other members to consider it. 

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