Gavin Grimm Won’t Be Able To Use The Boy’s Room In His School, But His Case Continues

Appeals Court Judge Andre M. Davis praised Grimm's struggle for "the simple recognition of [his] humanity."

An appeals court has denied transgender teen Gavin Grimm’s request to expedite arguments in his suit against the Virginia school board that’s barred him from using the boy’s bathroom.

Grimm, who graduates this year, asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear arguments in May. On Friday, the court declined.

GLOUCESTER, VA --  AUGUST 21: Gavin Grimm, 17, is photographed at his home in Gloucester, Virginia, on Sunday, August 21, 2016. The transgender teen sued the Gloucester County School Board after it barred him from the boys' bathroom.  (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post/Getty Images

His case was initially set to go before the Supreme Court in March, but was returned to the lower court after the Trump administration revoked guidelines stating transgender students should be allowed to use facilities that match their gender identity. Those guidelines were issued by President Obama in 2016.

While it denied his request, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Andre M. Davis praised Grimm’s bravery and determination, and compared him to civil rights icons like Dred Scott, Mildred and Richard Loving, Edie Windsor, who have “refused to accept quietly the injustices that were perpetrated against them.”

“Today, [Gavin]. adds his name to the list of plaintiffs whose struggle for justice has been delayed and rebuffed,” wrote Davis in his opinion. “As Dr. King has reminded us, however, ’the arc of the moral universal is long but it bends toward justice. [His] journey is delayed, but not finished.”

G.G.’s case is about much more than bathrooms. It’s about a boy asking his school to treat him just like any other boy. It’s about protecting the rights of transgender people in public spaces and not forcing them to exist on the margins. It’s about governmental validation of the existence and experiences of transgender people, as well as the simple recognition of their humanity.

His case is part of a larger movement that is redefining and broadening the scope of civil and human rights so that they extend to a vulnerable group that has traditionally been unrecognized, unrepresented, and unprotected.

Gavin will be out of school by the time his case is heard, but he told members of Congress this week he’ll keep fighting for other transgender students.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.