Gavin Grimm is a transgender teenager who has battled a Virginia School Board for the right to use the bathroom of his choice.
A shy teen, Grimm has been thrust into the national spotlight simply because he wanted to use the boys’ bathroom at his Virginia high school. His case could make history.
Many more people now know about Grimm’s cause and story because actress Laverne Cox urged Grammy watchers to Google the name “Gavin Grimm.”
Specifically, she said: “Everyone please Google Gavin Grimm. He’s going to the Supreme Court in March.”
Who is Grimm?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Grimm Is a Transgender Teenager Whose Lawsuit Over Restroom Use Is Before the U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in March involving Grimm, and “a Virginia school board that wants to prevent” Grimm from using a boys’ bathroom at high school, according to WISHTV.com.
Grimm, 17, was “born female but identifies as male,” WISH TV says. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Gavin was receiving medical treatment for “severe gender dysphoria,” when he and his mother told school administrators that he identified as male when his sophomore year started.
At first, an ACLU complaint says, Gavin “exclusively used unisex restroom facilities in the nurse’s office, but found that experience to be stigmatizing and isolating.”
“With permission from school administrators, Gavin used the boys’ restroom for almost two months without any incident,” the ACLU says. That didn’t last long, however.
2. The School Board Received Complaints & Adopted a New Policy on Bathroom Use
According to WISHTV, Grimm “was allowed to use the boys’ restroom at his high school in 2014.”
Then, the Gloucester County School Board received complaints and adopted a policy (on a 6-1 vote) “requiring students to use either the restroom that corresponds with their biological gender or a private, single-stall restroom.”
According to the ACLU, which filed suit on Grimm’s behalf, “The policy effectively expels trans students from communal restrooms and requires them to use ‘alternative private’ restroom facilities.”
The ACLU says its lawsuit argues that “the bathroom policy is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment and violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.”
Cox also took up Gavin’s cause on Instagram, writing, “#StandwithGavin he is going to #SCOTUS in March. He is just 17 years old and wants the same rights as every other boys in his high school.”
3. Grimm Has Received Support From Everyone From a Tailor to Katie Couric & the ACLU
Grimm’s case helped lead to new guidelines on transgender bathrooms by the Obama administration. Grimm has also found support in other corners.
A Brooklyn tailor helped suit Grimm up for court for free, and Grimm appeared on a Katie Couric special. The ACLU created a video to humanize Grimm. In it, Grimm says:
I realize now this is a lot bigger than myself and my greater goal now is to try to make things better for the people that come after me, because I can’t speak for everybody, but there’s things that need to be spoken about.
Grimm has been on a roller coaster of different court decisions. According to the ACLU, a district court dismissed Grimm’s claim, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling. The Gloucester County School Board then petitioned the Supreme Court, which agreed to take up the case. The ACLU also filed a complaint with the Department of Justice. You can read it here.
4. Grimm Is Described as ‘Shy’ & ‘Introspective,’ but His Fight Could Make History
A Washington Post profile story described Grimm’s journey.
“The case has made Grimm, an introspective teen who once was painfully shy, the standard-bearer in the fight for transgender student rights. He approaches the role with a mixture of pride and apprehension,” the story says.
5. The Trump Administration Filed a Brief Signaling a Change From the Obama Administration Over the Issue
The Washington Post wrote that a legal brief submitted over transgender bathrooms signaled that the Trump administration was “changing course on the previous administration’s efforts to expand transgender rights.”
The newspaper said the Trump administration had submitted “a legal brief withdrawing the government’s objections to an injunction that had blocked guidance requiring that transgender students be allowed to use restrooms that match their gender identity.”