RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia school board must allow a transgender teen to use the boys restroom while the court considers the legal issues of his case, a federal district judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert G. Doumar’s order directs the Gloucester County School board to let Gavin Grimm use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity when he returns for his senior year of high school this fall.
Grimm said Thursday that he’s elated to be able to attend his last year of high school with his “full rights restored.”
“After nearly two years of humiliation and intense struggle, equality has finally prevailed,” Grimm said in a statement. “Now hopefully other transgender people will not have to face this type of discrimination.”
The order comes after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April that the school board’s policy barring Grimm from using the boys restroom violated Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in schools.
The appeals court said Doumar, the judge who previously rejected Grimm’s discrimination claim, ignored a U.S. Department of Education rule that transgender students in public schools must be allowed to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The court reinstated Grimm’s Title IX claim and sent it back to the federal court for further consideration.
The school board has said it plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appeals court decision, arguing that it imperils the privacy rights of all students. The appeals court recently rejected a bid by the school board to stay its ruling until the high court hears the case, allowing the case to proceed at the federal level.
Josh Block, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who’s representing Grimm, said it was clear after the 4th Circuit’s ruling that Grimm “would ultimately prevail in court.”
“This preliminary injunction makes sure that Gavin’s legal victory has a real impact on his life while he is still at school,” Block said in a statement.
An attorney for the school board didn’t immediately return a message left at his office Thursday.
Grimm’s case has been closely watched since North Carolina enacted a law banning transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. Several cases over the law are pending in federal courts in North Carolina.