Transgender bathroom policy debate heats up during Gloucester Co. School Board meeting

Posted at 11:21 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 17:00:41-05

GLOUCESTER Co., Va.  - It was a very divided room at the Gloucester County School Board meeting Tuesday night as the public discussed the restroom policy involving transgender students.

At one point, there were a couple of standing ovations after a couple of people spoke against the policy, which would allow transgender students to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.

Other times, there were quiet remarks or stares around the room.

Gavin Grimm speaks at Tuesday night's Gloucester County School Board meeting

"We are born as male and female, and that's the way God created us and that's the way He intended it and as it was mentioned tonight earlier, God doesn't make any mistakes," said attendee Kenny Smith, who is against the policy.

Parents, students, lawyers and local pastors spoke up at the podium on what they think should happen regarding the policy.

Gavin Grimm, the transgender student who started this conversation about four years ago, was among those in the crowd who spoke into the mic.

"Like it or not, I as a transgender man deserve to be part of society in full. I deserve the same access to facilities as my peers. I deserve respect and dignity - so does every trans kid in Gloucester County and beyond," Grimm said.

The following criteria has to be met when following the restroom policy:

  1. The student must have appropriate medical documentation from a licensed healthcare provider who specializes in the treatment of transgender individuals.
  2. The student has consistently asserted the student's identity for at least six months.
  3. The student has undergone treatment recommended by the student's healthcare provider. This can include social transition or hormonal therapy for again at least six months.

One transgender student at Gloucester High School says trans people are just that: People.

"Everyone knows me as Vincent. They see me as a guy and then to have to go into a female restroom -  it's just awkward," said student Vincent Staples. "I'm not really comfortable doing that, and I will feel a lot more comfortable in the male bathroom. I'm not there to harass anyone or make a scene. I'm just trying to go in there, do my business and leave."

If the resolution is not adopted, the lawsuit will go forward.

On Thursday the Gloucester County School Board released this statement:

"The Gloucester County School Board will not be taking any action at its February 21 work session on the possible alternative restroom resolution that was presented at its work session on February 19. In addition, the School Board has not set a time frame for when any action will be taken or when any further discussion will be held regarding the resolution. Finally, the School Board will not be providing any additional comments on this matter at this time."