Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy fighting to end discrimination against him by his public high school in Virginia, now has some mighty allies in his corner: two Obama administration agencies as well as two LGBT advocacy organizations, which filed friend of the court briefs on his behalf.
The Gloucester County school board denied Grimm, 16, access to the boys’ bathroom at Gloucester County High School last December, despite him self-identifying as a boy. A federal judge upheld the decision last month, just before Grimm started his junior year.
The U.S. Department of Education and the Justice Department Wednesday filed a 40-page brief with the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., on behalf of Grimm, according to the Washington Blade.
He claims in the lawsuit he filed this summer with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union against the Gloucester County School Board that the policy violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972 and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
“Denying a transgender boy access to the boys’ restroom is often much more than a mere inconvenience or limitation on his ability to use the restroom,” the brief states. “it can be an effective denial of a restroom altogether.”
“As a result of such a policy, transgender students like G.G. are denied the ability to participate fully in and take advantage of their school’s educational programs,” it adds. “No one could reasonably expect a student to make it through an entire school day without access to a restroom; any student who attempted to do so would likely experience discomfort and anxiety affecting his ability to concentrate during class, further diminishing his educational experience.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders groups also filed an amicus brief Wednesday, on behalf of medical and mental health professionals who support Grimm.
Last week, Grimm’s lawyers asked a federal appeals board to remove U.S. District Court Judge Robert Doumar from the case, because of what they say shows his lack of sensitivity to the issue.
Judge Doumar, 84, rejected Grimm’s request for an injunction to continue to use the boys’ bathroom as he did throughout 10th grade. The judge also threw out his Title IX argument, which the Justice Department affirmed last month.
According to the documents filed by Grimm’s lawyers, the Ronald Reagan appontee holds preexisting views about transgender people and medical science that could compromise his judgment.
Doumar repeatedly called gender dysphoria a “mental disorder” during a July hearing, and dismissed expert testimony on the condition, according to the brief filed by Grimm’s attorneys:
“In short, the record reflects that [Doumar] has strong opinions about medical issues and may be inordinately suspicious of the modern medical consensus regarding sex and gender if that consensus conflicts with its preexisting views.
“The court’s medical opinions even extended to unfounded skepticism that a person could develop a urinary tract infection from delaying using the restroom.”
The brief also asks the appeals court to impose the requested injunction — allowing grimm to resume using the boys’ bathroom — and review their argument for Title IX.
The Gloucester County School Board is arguing it is not violating Title IX because it applies its bathroom policy equally to students based on the gender they were assigned at birth.
Read the brief filed by NCLR and GLAD on behalf of Grimm, includng testimony by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the nation’s leading clinics specializing in serving transgender youth, Dr. Norman Spack of Boston Children’s Hospital, and a number of other prominent doctors and medical and policy organizations with expertise in adolescent and transgender health issues, here.