- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2019

An attorney for a rural Virginia school board insisted Tuesday in federal court in Norfolk that the transgender boy who sued his school for refusing him use of the boy’s bathroom is still considered female by the school board.

“He was provided with options,” said attorney David Corrigan, arguing on behalf of the Gloucester County School Board.

Mr. Corrigan told U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen that the board’s bathroom policy was based on a binary, “two choices for all” view of gender and not a “societal construct.”

Gavin Grimm, 20, a graduate of Gloucester schools, also appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where his attorneys argued that his high school’s ban on students using the bathrooms of their preferred gender violated his civil rights.

Mr. Grimm’s lawyers sought to make the case that the board’s gender discrimination of a boy who transitioned before sophomore year amounted to a violation of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and of Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination in education.

Joshua Block of the American Civil Liberties Union told the court that Mr. Grimm endured “pain and discomfort” in high school when he abstained from using the lavatory out of shame until his “bladder was going to burst.”

Mr. Block also noted that the Gloucester school system has yet to issue Mr. Grimm, now a resident of California, high school transcripts listing his sex as male.

Judge Wright Allen, an Obama appointee who ruled against Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2014, is expected to issue an opinion in the coming days or weeks.

The case had reached the Supreme Court when President Trump rescinded the Obama-era directive for schools to allow students to use the bathroom of their preferred gender. Proceedings were remanded back to the lower courts.

If appealed, the case would go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit — covering West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas — which already has overturned a judge’s decision in favor of the school board.

Judge Wright Allen offered a clue on how she might decide, writing last year that the board’s policies “singled out and stigmatized Mr. Grimm” and refusing to dismiss the board’s request for summary judgment.

On Tuesday, she asked Mr. Corrigan how the school board could overlook Mr. Grimm’s birth certificate and court order.

“Grimm’s amended birth certificate does not change his biological and physiological sex, which remains female,” Mr. Corrigan said, adding that the board treated Mr. Grimm with respect and offered use of a single-stall restrooms on the advice of the ACLU.

Initially, Gloucester schools complied with the request for accommodations, made by Mr. Grimm and his mother. But after receiving complaints from parents and residents, the board voted to adopt its bathroom policy in December 2014.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court allowed to stand a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit that upheld a Pennsylvania school district’s policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Also on Tuesday, a state judge in North Carolina signed a consent decree allowing persons to use the bathrooms of their gender identity in state-owned buildings, including agency quarters for environmental, transportation and Medicaid.

The consent decree all but ended the state’s three-year legal battle over the so-called bathroom bill.

“Nationally, this decree sends an important signal that targeting transgender people for discrimination is unacceptable,” said Tara Borelli, attorney for Lamda Legal representing the plaintiffs.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide