Supreme Court Blocks Order That Had Allowed Transgender Student Born Female to Use Boys' Bathroom

Gavin Grimm
Student Gavin Grimm, who was barred from using the boys' bathroom at his local high school in Gloucester County, Virginia, U.S. is seen in an undated photo. Grimm was born a female but identifies as a male. |

The U.S. Supreme Court voted in a five to three decision on Wednesday to temporarily block an earlier court order that had allowed a transgender student that was born a female the right to use the boy's bathroom in a Virginia high school.

The New York Times reported that Gavin Grimm, a student from Gloucester High School in southeastern Virginia, was born a female but now identifies as a male, and for a time had been allowed by school administrators to use the boy's bathroom.

The school board later adopted a policy requiring students to use facilities corresponding to their birth gender, but said that "students with gender identity issues" would be allowed to use private bathrooms.

Seventeen-year-old Grimm sued the school board, which led to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. ruling against the policy, with a trial judge ordering school officials to allow the student to use boy's facilities.

The school board has said that it will file a petition asking the Supreme Court to hear its appeal late in August, and first submitted an emergency application to stop Grimm from being allowed to use the boy's bathrooms.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer reportedly sided with the court's four conservative justices in granting the stay, though the three liberal justices dissented.

Reuters reported that the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Grimm, has said that it is disappointed that its client "is going to have to begin another school year being stigmatized and separated from his peers as a result of this policy."

The Gloucester County school board argued, however, that it is thinking of what's best for students.

"The board continues to believe that its resolution of this complex matter fully considered the interests of all students and parents in the Gloucester County school system," a statement read.

The Supreme Court order is not the final ruling on the matter, The Wall Street Journal pointed out, with the justices expected to take up the issue once they receive the full appeal.

The Fourth Circuit opinion initially ruled that Gavin was "diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a medical condition characterized by clinically significant distress caused by an incongruence between a person's gender identity and the person's birth-assigned sex."

The case is the first time a transgender bathroom issue has reached the high court.

President Barack Obama's administration issued a directive back in May requiring public schools across America to allow transgender students access to single sex bathrooms based on their gender identity, rather than their birth gender, which sparked significant controversy.

While the White House explained that the move is aimed at battling discrimination against transgender students, several states said that they would be suing the Obama administration over the issue.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that "Obama is turning bathrooms into courtroom issues," while Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that the directive will be "the beginning of the end of the public school system as we know it."

"President Obama, in the dark of the night — without consulting Congress, without consulting educators, without consulting parents — decides to issue an executive order, like this superintendent, forcing transgender policies on schools and on parents who clearly don't want it," Patrick added at the time.

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