Trans teen sues school district in federal court over bathroom rights

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Gavin Grimm is suing his school district after they called him a “freak” and discussed his anatomy in meetings.

The Gloucester school district in Virginia voted to ban trans students from using appropriate bathrooms, instead forcing Gavin and other potential trans students to use the toilets of their “biological gender”. He was subjected to abuse, such as being compared to a dog, in meetings at which he was present.

At the time, the school board said: “This issue is not about one student; rather, it’s about all our students. We as a Board are seeking to do what’s best for our district in an open, transparent manner.”


Mr Grimm told Buzzfeed News: “The people of my community had a discussion about where I could use the bathroom — and my genitals and anatomy — that was mortifying and dehumanizing in a way I can’t begin to describe.”

He is now suing the district in federal court – the first time the US District Court has seen such a case. It could have reprecusions not just for Mr Grimm, but for other trans students across Virginia and the US.

He is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, who said: “We want to establish as clearly as possible that these rights exist and these protections exist, and the gold standard for that is federal court decisions.”

The school board voted 6-1 in favour of banning trans students from using the correct bathroom. The one dissenting vote was Kim Hensley.

She said: “I respect Gavin Grimm immensely. He has been subjected to vitriol that would crush others. His willingness to stand up and challenge a discriminatory policy is beyond courageous.”

His lawsuit states: “Using the girls’ restroom is not possible for Gavin. Even before he began treatment for Gender Dysphoria, girls and women who encountered Gavin in female restrooms reacted negatively because they perceived Gavin to be a boy.

“For example, when Gavin was in eighth and ninth grade, girls would tell him ‘this is the girls’ room’ and tell him to leave.”

The rights of trans students to use the correct bathrooms are a divisive issue across America.