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Should transgender students pick which restroom they use?

Posted at 6:51 PM, Dec 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-11 06:33:45-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The issue of which restroom a 15-year-old Gloucester County transgender student can use is making headlines and sparking intense debate.

This after the Gloucester County School Board voted six-to-one on Tuesday night to deny a request by 15-year-old Gavin Grimm, who identifies as a transgender boy but was a female.

"It shall be the practice of the (Gloucester County Public Schools) to provide male and female restroom and locker room facilities in its schools, and the use of said facilities shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders, and students with gender identity issues shall be provided an alternative private facility," the board's motion stated.

However, the board also said they will continue to offer a private bathroom for Gavin if he feels uncomfortable using the women's restroom.

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm

Keri Abrams, who was born a man but now identifies as a woman, said the school system's decision was better than nothing.

"We go into the bathroom for the same reason everybody else does," Abrams told CBS 6 in response to this story.

Abrams, who first knew she was different when she was three years old, said that school districts that do not allow students to use the bathroom they want run the risk of hurting an already struggling young person.

"I went through... at one point, I'm a worthless human being, I can't fight this, I'm just going to kill myself," Abrams said.

Keri Abrams

Keri Abrams

But the reality is that most Americans do not believe transgender students should use the restroom of the gender in which they identify.

In fact, 59 percent of Americans believe people should use the restroom based off of what gender they were assigned at birth, according to a 2014 CBS News poll.

"A girl should not have to be in the bathroom with a person is physically a boy no matter how they feel about themselves," the Virginia Family Foundation's Victoria Cobb said.

Buy what policies school systems in the Richmond area have in place?

Neither Henrico, Richmond or Chesterfield schools currently have a policy in place. Chesterfield officials told CBS 6 that if an issue arises they would evaluate it on a case-by-case basis. Henrico officials told CBS 6 they have no plans to discuss the topic.

However, Abrams said school districts should definitely have a policy, especially as she says more young people transition into the people they believe they are meant to be.

"What about kids that are involved in sports?" Abrams said -- hinting that could be the next big controversy.

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