DOJ Backs Transgender Teen Who's Biologically Female But Wants to Use Boys Restroom

By Lauretta Brown | October 30, 2015 | 3:21pm EDT
In this Aug. 25, 2015 file photo, Gavin Grimm leans on a post on his front porch during an interview at his home in Gloucester, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

( – The Department of Education’s Office of the General Council and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division filed a brief Wednesday evening in support of Gavin Grimm, a biological female who “identifies” as a male. Grimm filed a lawsuit in June against the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia for access to the boys’ restroom.  

“Prohibiting a transgender male student from using boys’ restrooms, when other non-transgender male students face no such restriction, deprives him not only of equal educational opportunity but also ‘of equal status, respect, and dignity,’” the DOE and DOJ attorneys argue in the brief.

“Treating a student adversely because the sex assigned to him at birth does not match his gender identity is literally discrimination ‘on the basis of sex,’” the administration lawyers argue. "Treating a student differently from other students because his birth-assigned sex diverges from his gender identity constitutes differential treatment ‘on the basis of sex’ under Title IX."

The brief also claims that “denying a transgender boy access to the boys’ restroom is often much more than a mere inconvenience or limitation on his ability to use the restroom — it can be an effective denial of a restroom altogether.”

It says the under the school’s current policy, “G.G. may only use either the girls’ restroom or a separate “unisex” restroom” but the unisex option “singles him out in a way that is humiliating and stigmatizing.”

The option that Grimm use the girls’ restroom “is unrealistic,” the brief says, since “a student like G.G., who identifies and presents as a boy and whom the school treats as a boy in every other respect,” can’t “walk into a girls’ restroom without creating a situation that is disruptive.”

Grimm alleged in the June lawsuit that the district’s policy violates the ban on sex discrimination in education under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972.

However the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar, has denied a preliminary injunction asking that Grimm be allowed to use the boys’ restroom while the case was decided. That decision is on appeal before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Doumar wrote in his opinion last month that Grimm had failed "to show that his presence in the male restroom would not infringe upon the privacy of other students."

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