Virginia Trans Man Wins $1.3 Million from School That Denied Access to Bathroom

The American Civil Liberties Union announced on August 26 that a Virginia school board will pay $1.3 million to a transgender man who sued his Gloucester County high school in 2015 after being denied access to a bathroom due to his gender identity.

In 2014, when Gavin Grimm came out as transgender, the school adopted a policy that prohibited any child "with gender identity issues" from using shared bathrooms with other boys and girls, according to ACLU, which represents Grimm.

When he was a student, Grimm first told Virginia's Gloucester County School Board: "All I want to do is be a normal child and use the restroom in peace."

School Board Forced Grimm to Use His Own Private Bathroom

He was made to use an "alternative appropriate private facility," an isolating experience that made him feel systemically excluded by his peers even after he commenced hormone therapy, had gender-affirming surgery, and officially obtained a Virginia state identification card, according to the ACLU.

 Gavin Grimm
Gavin Grimm, a trans man was banned from using the correct bathroom at school Twitter

Grimm Sued the District Over its Bathroom Policy

The school board's decision did not go well with Grimm and left him left him "stigmatized and isolated". He opted to sue the school board instead, a case which, after six years, almost made its way to the Supreme Court.

However, the high court said it would not hear Grimm's case after the school board tried to appeal a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which sided with Grimm, The Washington Post reported.

Represented by the ACLU and ACLU of Virginia, Grimm contended that the board's policy went against Title IX, a civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination.

Finally, on Thursday, the ACLU announced that the Gloucester County School Board had been ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in attorney's fees and costs to Grimm, bringing his case to its resolution, reported Pink News.

'Discrimination is An Expensive Losing Battle'

"Rather than allow a child equal access to a safe school environment, the Gloucester School Board decided to fight this child for five years in a costly legal battle that they lost," Grimm said in a statement via the ACLU. "I hope that this outcome sends a strong message to other school systems, that discrimination is an expensive losing battle."

Grimm's case marks the first time that a federal court held that Title IX protects trans students' rights to use restrooms that match the gender they identify with, per Buzzfeed News.

Social Media Reactions

Netizens were happy to know that justice was finally being served. One Twitter user said, "Maybe this will be a teachable moment. Serves the school right. Pay up."

Another wrote, "I am so sorry for Gavin's suffering and struggles for 6 years No one should have to go through this just to be treated with equality I'm glad he prevailed. I'm THRILLED the SCOTUS rejected the state's appeal."

One comment read, "Why do people even care what bathroom anyone uses? If I go to a public bathroom, other peoples' genitals play no part in the experience. Another comment read, "Virginia tax payers will pay - school boards have no other source of funds."