Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm attends Out Magazine's "Out100" event on November 21, 2019 in Long Island City, New York. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Out)

'Incredible Victory' for Trans Rights: Supreme Court Rejects School Bathroom Case

"Our work is not yet done," said one ACLU attorney, who noted that the organization is "continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country."

Brett Wilkins

In what civil rights advocates hailed as "an incredible victory," the United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of Gavin Grimm, a former Virginia high school student who in 2015 sued his county board of education over its policy of denying transgender pupils use of restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

"Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials."
—Gavin Grimm, plaintiff

The high court's move lets stand G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a 2020 ruling in which the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that policies segregating transgender students from their peers are unconstitutional.

Specifically, Grimm—who was represented by the ACLU and ACLU of Virginia—successfully argued that the school board's discriminatory policy violated Title IX, the federal law barring discrimination on the basis of sex in education.

Grimm's legal battle began when, as a 15-year-old Gloucester High School sophomore in 2015, he sued the county school board. Earlier that year, the Obama administration's Department of Education issued guidance stating that "a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity."

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed Grimm's case. He appealed, and in April 2016 the Fourth Circuit ruled in his favor.

However, the Supreme Court subsequently blocked an order allowing Grimm to use restrooms matching his gender identity, with the justices announcing in October 2016 that they would review the Fourth Circuit ruling.

Following the election of former President Donald Trump—whose Education Department reversed the Obama-era guidance—the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit, which, after last year's landmark Bostock v. Clayton County SCOTUS decision, ruled in favor of Grimm.

Grimm welcomed the Supreme Court's move on Monday.

"I am glad that my yearslong fight to have my school see me for who I am is over," he said in a statement. "Being forced to use the nurse's room, a private bathroom, and the girl's room was humiliating for me, and having to go to out-of-the-way bathrooms severely interfered with my education."

"Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials," Grimm asserted.

Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that "this is the third time in recent years that the Supreme Court has allowed appeals court decisions in support of transgender students to stand."

"This is an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country," Block added. "Our work is not yet done, and the ACLU is continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country."

According to the LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD, there are scores of Republican-sponsored bills under consideration in a majority of U.S. states targeting the rights of transgender students. Numerous states have already passed laws or implemented executive orders erasing or limiting transgender students' rights to participate in scholastic sports or receive gender-affirming healthcare.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden Praised for $15 Minimum Wage Hike for All Federal Workers

"Setting a new $15 per hour wage floor for federal government work will encourage employers across the country who are currently paying poverty wages to compete for labor and start paying fairer rates."

Brett Wilkins ·


Saudi Bombings Kill Scores of Civilians—Including Children—in Yemen

"America is complicit in this," said one critic of "this horrific war that Biden and his senior officials once promised to end."

Andrea Germanos ·


US Risked Killing Thousands by Bombing Syria Dam on 'No-Strike List'

"The number of casualties would have exceeded the number of Syrians who have died throughout the war," said a former director of the Tabqa Dam.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Atrocious': Biden Renominates Chevron Lawyer First Chosen by Trump

Human rights attorney Steven Donziger noted that the president's pick for the federal bench "was paid millions... to help jail me, attack Indigenous peoples, and cover up a massive oil spill in the Amazon."

Jake Johnson ·


Sanders Backs Kroger Workers Striking Over 'Corporate Greed'

"It is time for Kroger to go back to the negotiating table and reach an agreement with the union," writes Sen. Bernie Sanders in a new letter to Kroger's millionaire CEO.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo