A federal judge in Virginia ordered Gloucester County School Board members to allow a female student, who identifies as male, to use the boys' urinals and restroom at the public high school.
Gavin Grimm, now 17, told reporters in December 2014 she began using the boys' restroom after obtaining permission from the school principal when she expressed disapproval over being forced to use the nurse restroom.
"I'm not a girl. I'm not using the girls' restroom," Grimm stated. "So I said, 'Hey, where can I use the restroom?' And so they said, 'Use the nurse's room,' and at the time I was fine with that, because I was still afraid-I didn't know how my peers would react. So, I didn't want to push the envelope any further than I had to all at once."
Grimm said that option soon became problematic because the nurse's office was farther away from her classes. "It took a substantial amount of time out of my class time, and it was embarrassing. When you're gone for 15 minutes at a time to use the bathroom, what are high schoolers gonna' think? It's humiliating and it's alienating."
After the student asked the principal about the matter, it was suggested Grimm use the men's restroom. According to Christian News, some parents of the male students at the school learned about the allowance, and the issue was taken to school board members. Due to parental concerns, board members voted to approve a policy requiring students to use the restroom that correlates with their biological gender, or to use a private bathroom.
Grimm then sued the school board with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in an effort to overturn the policy.
Last September, District Court Judge Robert Doumar ruled against Grimm, disagreeing with the ACLU that the board had violated Title IX with its restroom policy. "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," Doumar wrote.
The ACLU appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled 2-1 in favor of Grimm in April by pointing to the Obama administration's recent interpretations of the federal statute.
"At the heart of this appeal is whether Title IX requires schools to provide transgender students access to restrooms congruent with their gender identity," the three-judge panel wrote. "We conclude that the department's interpretation of its own regulation . . . as it relates to restroom access by transgender individuals, is . . . to be accorded controlling weight in this case."
The Appeals' judges sent the case back to Doumar, who was instructed to rule in light of how the U.S. Department of Education views the federal statute. The U.S. Department of Justice had filed a statement of interest in Grimm's case as well.
On Thursday, Doumar issued an injunction in favor of Grimm while her case moves forward.The order is limited to the restroom and does not include locker room use or any other similar facilities.
"I am elated to hear that I'll be able to attend my senior year of high school with my full rights restored," Grimm said in a statement released by the ACLU. "After nearly two years of humiliation and intense struggle, equality has finally prevailed. Now hopefully other transgender people will not have to face this type of discrimination."
The board plans to appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court, reports Christian News."The school board understands the implications of the order and will continue to defend its reasonable and nondiscriminatory solution to this issue at the Supreme Court and trial court levels," a spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.