Right of Transgender Student to Use Appropriate Bathroom, G. G. v. Gloucester County Public Schools.

Before he began his sophomore year in high school, G.G. and his mother notified officials at Gloucester High School that he is transgender, that he had legally changed his name to Gavin, and that he should be referred to with male pronouns. Later that fall, the principal allowed Gavin to use the boys’ bathroom, which he did without incident for about seven weeks. For a transgender teenage boy, living as a boy in all respects – including bathroom use – is a critical part of treatment for Gender Dysphoria. Even though Gavin’s use of the boys’ bathroom had not caused any problems at school, parents and others pressured the school board to enact a new policy limiting the use of boys’ and girls’ bathrooms to students of the “corresponding biological gender,” and segregating trans students like Gavin into separate unisex bathrooms. We filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, claiming that the policy violates Gavin’s rights under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in public schools that receive federal funds.  A suit was filed on June 11, 2015 against the Gloucester County School Board for revoking Gavin’s access to boys’ facilities.

We asked the court to grant Gavin a preliminary injunction to allow him to use the boys’ restroom while the case is pending.  The United States Departments of Justice and Education filed a brief supporting that request.  On July 27, 2015, the district court heard arguments on Gavin’s request for a preliminary injunction and the school board’s motion to dismiss the case.  On September 4, 2015, the court denied the preliminary injunction. We filed our opening brief on appeal on October 21, 2015.

A motion for preliminary injunction was filed asking the court to rule in time for Gavin to be able to use the same restroom as other boys at Gloucester High School when classes resumed for the 2015-16 school year.  The district court denied the injunction and dismissed Gavin’s claim under Title IX.  That decision was appealed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the lower court's decision was overturned in August of 2016. Gloucester County School Board has petitioned for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Fourth Circuit's mandate has been stayed pending the court's decision  on the petition.

The ACLU previously filed a federal discrimination Complaint with the Department of Justice and Department of Education in December 2014.   On March 6, 2017, The Supreme Court announced that it is sending Gavin’s case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be reconsidered in light of the Departments of Justice and Education rescinding of a Title IX guidance clarifying protections for transgender students. 

On April 7, 2017, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal vacated the unopposed Motion for Preliminary Injunction entered by the District Court on June 23, 2016. Gavin Grimm and Gloucester County School Board filed their respective Supplemental Briefs on May 8, 2017 in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 2, 2017, Gavin Grimm and the Gloucester County School Board filed their respective Supplemental Reply Briefs in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. On August 11, 2017, a Joint Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of the case was filed in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Plaintiff, Gavin Grimm filed an Amended Complaint in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia, Newport News Division on August 11, 2017. The Defendant, Gloucester County School Board filed a Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint on September 22, 2017. Grimm filed a Memorandum in Opposition to Gloucester County School Board’s Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint on September 29, 2017.

On May 22, 2018, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia has denied the school board’s motion to dismiss the case of Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board and held that Title IX and the Constitution protect transgender students from being excluded from the common restrooms that align with their gender identity. The court directed the parties to schedule a settlement conference within 30 days.

Date filed

December 18, 2014

Court

U.S. District Court of Virginia, Eastern District, Newport News Division

Judge

Allen

Status

Active

Case number

4:15cv54

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