Just weeks after Biden’s Education Department granted Title IX protections to transgender students, one of those former students has won his years-long battle with a Virginia school board over gender discrimination barring him from using the correct restroom.
On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Gloucester County School Board had unlawfully barred a former student named Gavin Grimm from using the restroom that correlated with his gender until his graduation in 2017.
And though the ruling is good news for students in a couple of states that have actively pushed for “bathroom bills,” it does not apply to students nationwide. Students in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia will be legally protected from similar discrimination, the fact that the Supreme Court merely upheld the 2020 ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia following the school board’s appeal means the case will not be heard by the Supreme Court. According to Reuters, this isn’t the first time the Supreme Court has declined to make a broader decision on the case. Grimm initially sued the school board back in 2015, and in 2016, the Supreme Court took up the case, though it declined to issue any ruling and sent it back to lower courts.
Grimm, who began transitioning in 2014, was permitted to use the bathroom correlating to his gender for a few weeks before complaints from parents make school officials reverse their decision, forcing Grimm, a boy, to use the girls’ restroom, which Judge Henry Floyd correctly called in his 4th Circuit court decision, “a special kind of discrimination against a child that he will no doubt carry with him for life.”
And that discrimination against trans students isn’t limited to attempting to prevent them from using the restroom. Earlier in June, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill barring trans women and girls from competing in school sports, even on intramural or club teams. And while Grimm’s case is undoubtedly a victory for the students in the five states the decision affects, the Biden administration has not yet clarified how Title IX will apply to bathroom use and the Supreme Court has rejected two different cases involving trans athletes, meaning the fight is far from over for countless other trans students in America.