Gavin Grimm’s four-year legal battle against his former school board’s transphobic bathroom policies will continue into a fifth year as the board just appealed a recent court ruling that had found in his favor.
On Aug. 9, 2019, a federal court ruled that the Gloucester County School Board of Virginia wrongly discriminated against Grimm in 2015 when the board’s policies forbade him from using school bathrooms matching his gender identity during his high school years.
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On Tuesday, the board appealed the decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia (which oversees Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia). Grimm’s lawyers and the school board’s will now submit written arguments, and a panel of three judges will likely issue their ruling within this particular court’s seven-month average of issuing rulings.
Nine of the court’s rotating judges were appointed by Democratic U.S. presidents and nine were appointed by Republican U.S. presidents — its chief justice was appointed during a recess by Democratic president Bill Clinton and later confirmed under the administration of Republican president George W. Bush.
Grimm’s case started in 2014 when Grimm’s principal allowed him to use the boys’ bathroom at his school for two months without incident. When parents later found out, they complained to the school board and the board declared that Grimm and other trans students should use a school unisex bathroom instead.
Grimm’s court case began in 2015 and was set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2017, but the court sent the case back to the district court following Trump’s change on an Obama-era guidance on Title IX allowing trans students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.
The Aug. 2019 court ruling stated that the school board’s policies violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees equal protection and due process under the law, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.”