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Transgender student’s fight to use boys’ restroom goes to Federal Court of Appeals

Posted at 8:39 AM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 13:25:40-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The issue of which restroom a Gloucester County student can use went before a Federal Appeals Court in Richmond Wednesday.   Making it the first time arguments involving transgender students was presented to a federal court of appeals.   In 2015, the Gloucester County School Board voted six-to-one  to deny Gavin Grimm's request for permission to use the boys' bathroom at his school, after allowing him to use it for about 7 weeks.

Grimm was born a female, but has the gender identity of a male.

School officials said they received complaints from dozens of parents who were uncomfortable with Grimm using the boys' restroom.

"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 ruled.

At that time, the school also built several unisex private restrooms for all students to use.

The ACLU took a stand behind Grimm and other transgender students who say they deserve to use which ever restroom and locker room is consistent with their gender identity.

In court, Wednesday, Grimm's attorney, Josh Block said gender should be determined by psychology, and the way one feels and presents him or herself to the world, not by biology or anatomy.

After the arguments were heard, Grimm and Block held an press conference in the ACLU building on Franklin.

Grimm said for him, this battle is about much more than just using a certain restroom.

"I'm banned from a gender specific place and it is a big issue for me, this is one way the school is saying, we do not believe you are legitimate, and that is a big deal to me," Grimm expressed.

The school board's attorney took the stance that under current policy, Grimm has options, to either use girls' restroom or the private unisex restroom.

Judges are expected to come back with an opinion on the argument in about 2 to 4 months.