Judge dismisses part of transgender teen’s lawsuit; has not ruled yet on motion for injunction

Posted at 7:50 PM, Jul 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-27 20:01:02-04

Norfolk, Va. - A transgender teen from Gloucester High School was in federal court Monday, seeking an injunction to a policy that prohibits him from using the boy's restroom in school.

Gavin Grimm, 16, was born female but identifies as a male.

It wasn't a problem for him at school until December.

That's when the school board adopted a policy that says students must use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex they were born with or use a private restroom.

Before that, he'd been allowed to use the boy's restroom.

"It increased the amount of anxiety I have in going to school," Gavin told NewsChannel 3 outside court, "It created a challenge I never dreamed I would have, and for me, it was very deeply stigmatizing and very upsetting."

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board on Grimm's behalf, arguing that it is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment and violates Title IX, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.

Monday, Joshua Block, an attorney with the ACLU, argued in court for a preliminary injunction which would allow Grimm to use the boy's restroom at school as he waits for a final decision in the lawsuit.

He said the current policy is causing irreparable harm to Grimm.

"We obviously think that being stigmatized every time you have to use the bathroom is obviously irreparable harm for anyone,"Block told NewsChannel 3 after the hearing.  He went on to say, "It's important for us to be clear that there's nothing stigmatizing with being transgender or who you are.  What's stigmatizing is being treated unequally because you're a transgender person."

The judge has not made a ruling yet, but said at the moment, he does not see any irreparable harm.

The defense also brought forth a motion to dismiss the case.  The judge has not ruled on that either, but did say it's unlikely he'll grant it, which means the lawsuit would move forward.

During Monday's hearing, the judge did dismiss the Title IX claim in the lawsuit, though.  He said what still needs to be determined is if the policy is unconstitutional.

A trial date for the lawsuit will be set once the judge issues a written opinion.