- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A federal court on Tuesday overruled a Virginia school board that denied a transgender student permission to use the restrooms of the opposite sex.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said Gavin Grimm, a 16-year-old who identifies as a boy, must be allowed to use the restroom of the gender with which he identifies under federal law.

“I feel so relieved and vindicated by the court’s ruling,” the teen said in a statement. “Today’s decision gives me hope that my fight will help other kids avoid discriminatory treatment at school.”

In a six-to-one vote last year, the Gloucester Country School Board denied Gavin’s request for permission to use the facilities of the opposite sex. After that decision, Gavin’s high school built several gender-neutral private restrooms accessible to all students.

But the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the teen, filed a lawsuit against the school board, arguing students must be allowed to use the facilities that correspond to their gender identity.

The federal court concurred, ruling the school district violated Title IX by denying Gavin access to the facilities of the opposite sex.

Last fall, a U.S. district judge dismissed that argument, saying “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and not on the basis of other concepts such as gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

Gay-rights groups praised the decision as “historic,” arguing it applies to public schools in North Carolina, which last month enacted a measure prohibiting people from using the public facilities of the opposite sex.

“Today’s historic decision is not only a victory for Gavin, but for all transgender young people who are being targeted by discriminatory actions — including North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s anti-transgender HB2 law,” said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement.

“We therefore expect public schools, including those in North Carolina, to immediately comply, ensuring transgender students full protections under the law, which includes full access to the appropriate facilities,” she said.

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