The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal sex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a Virginia high school student who has been prohibited from using the boys bathrooms and locker rooms on school premises.
The student plaintiff, 16-year-old Gavin Grimm, attends Gloucester High School in quiet, coastal Virginia, reports the Daily Press of Newport News.
The reason school officials have prevented Grimm from using facilities reserved for boys on campus is because Grimm was born a girl and by all accounts remains a girl.
Nevertheless, Grimm, her family and the ACLU want a court order forcing the local school district to allow Grimm to use boys bathrooms at Gloucester High School.
At least one physician has diagnosed Grimm with gender dysphoria, which means that even though Grimm was born with female reproductive organs, she insists she is actually a boy. (RELATED: California 2014: Strapping Senior Calling Himself Female To Play On Girls’ High School Softball Team)
In December, the Gloucester County School Board voted 6-1 to establish an official policy assigning students with male reproductive organs to boys bathrooms and students with female reproductive organs to girls bathrooms. Students who feel they didn’t fit either of these straightforward categories can now use single-stall bathrooms at the school under the new rules.
The lawsuit maintains that Grimm used boys bathrooms for seven weeks at Gloucester High until the school board instituted the new policy, The Washington Post notes.
“The school board’s policy is deeply stigmatizing and needlessly cruel,” Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project, told the Daily Press.
Block argued that one way the new policy discriminates is that it only allows students claiming transgender status to use the single-stall bathrooms. Thus, such a rule makes those students stand out.
“Any student — transgender or not — should be free to use single-stall restrooms if they want extra privacy. Instead of protecting the privacy of all students, the school board has chosen to single out transgender students as unfit to use the same restrooms as everyone else,” Block told the newspaper.
Grimm said she was feels singled out.
“I just want to use the restroom in peace,” Grimm declared in an ACLU press release obtained by the Washington Blade, America’s oldest gay-oriented newspaper. “Since the school board passed this policy I feel singled out and humiliated every time I need to use the restroom.”
In a December 18 letter to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the ACLU insisted that Grimm must use boys bathrooms as an “essential” part of treatment of gender dysphoria.
In December, when the school board created the policy at issue in the lawsuit, local school board chairman George (Randy) Burak observed that other students use bathrooms and locker rooms in addition to Grimm, and their peace of mind also matters.
“This issue is not about one student. Rather, it’s about all our students,” Burak said, according to area CBS affiliate WTKR. We as a Board are seeking to do what’s best for our district in an open, transparent manner.” (RELATED: SANITY: Federal Court Rules Taxpayer-Funded College Can Bar WOMAN From Men’s Locker Room)