A federal district court has ruled in favor of a transgender teenager from Virginia whose case is at the heart of the debate over school bathrooms, a matter the Supreme Court had previously vacated.
The U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia rejected the Gloucester School Board's request to dismiss Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board Tuesday, instructing both parties to plan a settlement meeting in the next 30 days.
The court held that both the Constitution and Title IX protects transgender students from being restricted from using the restroom of their choice, the one that corresponds with their gender identity.
"I feel an incredible sense of relief," said Grimm, 19, the local NBC affiliate reported.
"After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law."
Last year the Trump administration scrapped the controversial 2016 Obama guidelines that said that children in American public schools must be allowed to use the bathrooms and other sex-specific facilities based on their gender identity, and threatened to withhold funds if schools did not comply.
Grimm graduated from high school in 2017. He had not been allowed to used the men's facilities in 2014 after the Gloucester County School Board implemented a policy stipulating that students must use restroom that matches their biological sex on their birth certificates.
The Supreme Court vacated the case in March of last year due to the change in perspective of the new presidential administration, sending the case back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent the case back to the district court in July of 2017.
Some parents in Virginia found the court's ruling bizarre.
"I thought it would be such a simple thing to recognize that sex-segregated spaces are segregated by sex," said Natassia Grover, a stay-at-home mom in Loudoun County, in a Wednesday interview with The Christian Post. Grover has three children enrolled in the public school system in the populous northern Virginia county outside of Washington D.C.
"But instead, I read something that could have come straight out of a George Orwell novel," she said, describing the text of the court's decision.
She said she was "flabbergasted" that the court actually employed the phrase "sex assigned at birth" as though sex is something that cannot be discovered through prenatal blood tests and fetal ultrasounds in the months before birth.
"The school board used the term 'biological gender,' clearly meaning 'sex,' and based on this ruling it appears that the courts have decided that 'gender identity' is more important than sex."
In the text of its decision, the court also wrote that Grimm "obtained a treatment documentation letter from his medical providers confirming that he was receiving treatment for gender dysphoria and was to be treated as a male in all respects — including restroom use."
Grover, who is also a registered nurse, thinks this amounts to "medical tyranny."
"As if doctors get to decide school policies regarding language and facility access," she said, exasperated.
"What's happening here is that radical ideologues expect entire communities to change the way they think. Everyone must conform to this particular idealistic worldview that says 'What I feel I am is what I am and everyone must act accordingly.'"
Kara Dansky, a board member of the radical feminist group Women's Liberation Front, explained in an email to CP Wednesday that she views the district court's decision as "factually and legally misguided" and the entire concept of gender identity as "purely a function of self-identification subject to absolutely no limits in terms of who may invoke it, for how long, or for what purpose." And it is women and girls who stand to lose considerably when the courts conflate sex with gender identity, she maintains.
When sex is redefined as gender identity with regard to Title IX protections, she added, it "allows any man to justify his presence in any women-only space – restroom, locker room, shower, dormitory, etc. – simply by claiming to 'identify' as a woman."
"And the Court offers no principle by which this redefinition is confined just to students. Title IX applies to students, faculty, administrators, other employees, and anyone else who walks into any Title IX institution. Thus any male teacher, professor, administrator, employee, or visitor who 'self-identifies' as female must, as a matter of law, also be granted access to all of those single-sex spaces," Dansky said.
Her organization filed a joint friend of the court brief with the Family Policy Alliance in the Grimm case both when it reached the U.S. Supreme Court and when it was sent back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that "sex" should not be legally reinterpreted to mean "gender identity."
Court documents say that Grimm used the boys' restrooms at the school for around seven weeks with no issues.
Prior to the Grimm lawsuit, which was first filed in 2015, the school board enacted a policy requiring students with gender identity issues to be allowed to use an "alternative appropriate private facility."