Gavin Grimm Wins His Case As Federal Court Rules Civil Rights Law Protects Trans Students

The ruling contradicts the Trump administration's claim that protections under Title IX don't apply to transgender people.

A federal court found in favor of transgender student Gavin Grimm in his case against a Virginia school district on Tuesday, ruling that civil rights law protects trans people.

Grimm had sought to use the boys’ bathroom at his high school, and began a legal battle to gain that right four years ago. Grimm has since graduated from the school and is heading to college in the fall. Even still, he is celebrating the ruling.

“I feel an incredible sense of relief,” Grimm said in a statement. “After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law. I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through.”

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Grimm’s lawyers, from the ACLU, successfully argued that Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination includes protections on the basis of gender identity.

A federal appeals court in Chicago issued a similar ruling last year, citing an Obama era directive to public schools interpreting Title IX as including trans students. The Supreme Court agreed to hear Grimm’s case on appeal, but but then kicked it back down to the lower courts when the Trump administration rescinded that policy.

“Title IX protects trans people, and that’s what courts have been saying for years,” said ACLU senior staff attorney Josh Block, The New York Times reports. “Even though this administration wants to try to roll back protections, they can’t change what the law says.”

The Gloucester County School Board responded to the ruling by continuing to defend its actions.

“The School Board continues to believe that its resolution of this complex matter fully considered the interests of all students and parents in the Gloucester County school system,” it said in a statement.

The court has ordered the two sides to meet for settlement talks. His lawyers are seeking nominal damages and a declaratory judgment that the bathroom policy violated their client’s rights.

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