You may remember the story of Gavin Grimm, who filed a suit against his school whose policy dictated that transgender students must use “alternative, private” facilities.
At the time, a lower court ruled that the Virginia school should allow Gavin to use the male bathroom, but that ruling has now been blocked by the US Supreme Court.
The intial ruling from the lower court was that Title IX – the federal law that bans discrimination on the basis of gender in public schools – protects the rights of transgender students to use sex segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity.
The high court voted 5-3 to grant a teemporary stay while they consider a review of the ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The balance in votes was tipped by Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who said that his vote for a stay was a “courtesy”.
The American Civil Liberties Union, who is representing Grimm in his case against his Virginia school, are naturally disappointed with their decision to vote for a stay.
Senior staff attorney Joshua Block said: “We are disappointed that the court has issued a stay and that Gavin will have to begin another school year isolated from his peers and stigmatized by the Gloucester County school board just because he’s a boy who is transgender. We remain hopeful that Gavin will ultimately prevail.”
National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter seems confident that the stay “should not be taken as any sign of where a majority of the Court is leaning on the substantive question of whether Title IX protects transgender students.”
“Across the country, courts and policymakers are recognizing that discrimination against transgender people is sex discrimination. We are confident that if and when this issue reaches the Supreme Court, the Court will affirm that recognition.”