Gloucester considers amending bathroom policy for trans students

Posted at 11:38 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 07:28:02-05

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. -- Gavin Grimm was 14 years old, in 2014, when he took a plea to the Gloucester County School Board asking for the right to use the boy's restroom at school.

Grimm, who was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and identified as a male, was forced to use separate bathroom facilities at Gloucester High School, including a single-stall in the nurse's office and some staff restrooms.

Grimm's request was denied, and sparked intense public debate in the Virginia small town. 

The school board later created a policy providing alternative restrooms and locker room facilities for transgender students.

On Tuesday, the Gloucester County School Board will hold a public hearing on amending the policy that forbid Grimm from using the restroom of his preferred gender identity.

Tuesday's hearing comes after four years of court hearings and appeals that almost reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Grimm filed a lawsuit in 2015, claiming the policy requiring him to use an alternative bathroom was discriminatory and turned him into an outcast in school. 

The lawsuit claimed that the policy violated Title IX and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The school board argued that Title IX did not include gender identification in the definition of sex.

"It's not something any human should have to face because it's dehumanizing," Grimm said in a 2015 interview with CBS 6. "I have the forum to help many, many people other than myself."

The Gloucester County School Board's proposed change would allow students to use the restroom consistent with their asserted gender identity when the following criteria have been met:

01. The student has appropriate medical documentation from a licensed, healthcare provider specializing in the treatment of transgender issues.
02. The student has consistently asserted the student's gender identity for a period of at least six months.
03. The student has undergone treatment recommended by the student's healthcare provider, which may include social transition or hormonal therapy for at least six months.

Bill Harrison, with Diversity Thrift, said school divisions must be inclusive.

"I think we proved years ago with the integration of races, separate but equal is not equal," Harrison said. "It's not fair, it's not right, it's not just. To have a separate restroom for an individual puts them out there as being extremely different, and they're not different."

If the new policy is adopted, Grimm's legal fight could finally be over.

A bench trail is set for July in Newport News if the case remains unsettled.



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