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Supreme Court will not revive school's ban on transgender bathrooms

Monday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a Virginia school board appeal to rescind its ban on transgender bathrooms was a victory for transgender rights groups as well as a former high school student, who had fought six years in court to repeal the ban.

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Supreme Court will not revive school's ban on transgender bathrooms

Gavin Grimm, now 22 years old, said that he had won his long fight after learning that the high courts refused to hear the appeal of the board. He tweeted, "We won." He added, "Honored that I was part of this victory."

Grimm, a 15-year old student at Gloucester High School, was prohibited from using the boys' bathroom. Grimm was required to use the Gloucester County School Board's private or gender-specific restrooms. Grimm filed a federal suit that was heard by the courts for six-years.

Grimm claimed that being forced to use a nurse's room, the private bathroom, and the girl's toilet was humiliating. This severely interfered with Grimm's education.

He stated that trans youth should be able to use the toilet in peace, without being shamed or stigmatized by their school boards and elected officials.

The Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions that had ruled against the policy as unconstitutional. Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito voted for the appeal.

David Corrigan (an attorney representing the school board) declined to comment.

The school board petitioned the Supreme Court for the hearing of the case. It argued that the school's bathroom policy is a "pressing federal issue of national importance".

The board had argued that federal laws do not protect discrimination based upon sex identity, but sex. The board argued that Grimm was anatomically still a woman because he had not had sex-reassignment surgery.

Grimm was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union who argued that federal law protects transgender students from discrimination. The 4th U.S. District Court judge agreed with Grimm's argument. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the policy of the board violated Title IX. This federal civil rights law prohibits sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funds. The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution was also violated by the board's policy that Grimm could not use the same bathroom as the other boys and forced him to use separate bathrooms.

"This is the third consecutive year that the Supreme Court allows appeals court decisions to be upheld in support of transgender student. "This is an amazing victory for Gavin as well as for transgender students across the country," Josh Block, senior staff lawyer with the ACLU's LGBTQ & HIV Project said.

Grimm's case was to be heard by the Supreme Court in 2017. However, it was remanded to the lower courts following the withdrawal of support from the Trump administration for Grimm.

Paul D. Castillo is an attorney representing the LGBT rights group Lambda Legal. He stated Monday that the 4th Circuit decision technically bound five states: Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and West Virginia.

He said, however, that it was "difficult to imagine a court not taking this victory into consideration."

Castillo stated in an email that "Importantly" federal appellate court decisions, especially when they are not reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court are frequently cited in subsequent cases for their persuasive value in analyzing legal issues.

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