School board loses $1.3 million lawsuit over trans rights

Gavin Grimm came out as a transgender male six years ago to his classmates at Gloucester High School in Virginia. The Gloucester County School Board retaliated by prohibiting students “with gender identity issues” from using the same common restrooms as other boys and girls.

Instead, Grimm was forced to use an “alternative appropriate private facility.”

Grimm was excluded from using the restroom that confirmed his gender even after undergoing hormone therapy which “altered his bone and muscle structure, deepened his voice, and caused him to grow facial hair.” He also obtained a Virginia state I.D. card and birth certificate that listed his legal sex as male.


To top it off, the school refused to designate him as a male on his transcripts after he graduated. As a result, whenever Gavin was required to provide a transcript to colleges or potential employers, he had to provide one that misidentified him as “female.”

via Wikimedia Commons

Grimm filed a lawsuit against the school district in 2015 when he was a sophomore claiming that that school’s policy violated Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause. Grimm was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the lawsuit.

The ACLU announced on August 26 that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of Gavin on all his claims and it was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The case was sent to the Supreme Court, but it declined to review it in June, upholding the lower court ruling. Grimm was awarded $1.3 million in the lawsuit but the entire sum, minus $1, is going toward legal fees paid for by the ACLU.

“It’s absolutely vindication,” Grimm told Insider. “The court found that what they did was wrong and it was discrimination and it was not going to go without consequence, and I think that’s fantastic.”

The decision is a huge win for the LGBTQ community and it will also act as a deterrent for future anti-trans legislation.

“We are glad that this long litigation is finally over and that Gavin has been fully vindicated by the courts, but it should not have taken over six years of expensive litigation to get to this point,” Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement.

“After a year in which state legislatures have introduced an unprecedented number of bills targeting trans youth, we hope that the fee award will give other school boards and lawmakers pause before they use discrimination to score political points,” he continued.

Grimm hopes that the decision will slow the tide of anti-trans legislation cropping up all over the country.

“Their hatred and discrimination is struck down in court over and over again,” he said of lawmakers pushing anti-trans bills. “I hope that they look at this and know that their time is coming to an end.”

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