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Court rules in favor of transgender student in bathroom case

Posted On: May. 23, 2018 11:41 AM CST

Court rules in favor of transgender student in bathroom case

A federal district court in Virginia on Tuesday refused to dismiss litigation involving a transgender student’s bathroom use and held he is protected by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, in a case that was remanded from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gavin Grimm, a transgender male student, filed suit against the Gloucester, Virginia-based school board in July 2015 over its refusal to let him use the boys bathroom in Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board. 

In September 2015, a U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, dismissed Mr. Grimm’s claim under Title IX for failure to state a claim.

On appeal, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled in Mr. Grimm’s favor, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the case, with oral arguments scheduled for March 28, 2017.

But on Feb. 22, 2017, the Departments of Education and Justices issued a joint memorandum that revoked the Obama Administration’s federal guidelines on transgender student’s use of bathrooms. The Supreme Court then remanded the case.

The case was reassigned to Justice Arenda L. Wright to consider the Title IX claim. After concluding she was not bound by the previous dismissal of the Title IX claim, Justice Wright ruled Mr. Grimm could proceed with his case.

Following an analysis of other court rulings on the issue, the decision states, “Allegations of gender stereotyping are cognizable Title VII sex discrimination claims and, by extension, cognizable Title IX sex discrimination claims… Mr. Grimm has properly brought a Title IX claim of discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ – that is, based on his transgender status,” said the ruling, in ordering a settlement conference.

Last week, a District Court jury in Illinois decided against the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a case in which it had charged a rental firm with violating federal law by firing a transgender employee.