Transgender student sues Virginia high school, citing restroom policy

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm WVEC

Gavin GrimmWVEC

Gavin Grimm

GLOUCESTER, Va. — A transgender teenager said in a lawsuit Thursday that he has been stigmatized by a policy that bars him from using the boys’ restrooms at his eastern Virginia high school.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Gavin Grimm in the lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board. The complaint says Grimm, 16, used the communal restrooms without incident until the board, responding to complaints from local residents, adopted a policy in December requiring transgender students to use a private facility.

“To avoid the stigma of having to use separate restrooms, Gavin has tried to avoid using any restroom during the school day,” the lawsuit says.

The ACLU said the lawsuit is the first of its kind in Virginia, but several similar cases have been brought in other state courts and at least two in federal courts elsewhere.

Gloucester County Attorney Ted Wilmot, who represents the school board, said that he had not seen the complaint and that any comment would be premature. He said the board likely will discuss how to respond at its next meeting, set for June 18.

According to the complaint, Grimm was designated female at birth but has a male gender identity. It says he has been diagnosed as having gender dysphoria, a medical condition characterized by distress stemming from conflict between a person’s gender identity and the person’s assigned sex at birth.

The lawsuit says Grimm started refusing to wear girls’ clothes by age 6, and by ninth grade most of his friends were aware of his gender identity. He told his parents he was transgender in April 2014, and they took him to a psychologist who diagnosed his condition and developed a treatment plan that includes “social transition” to his gender identity.

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“For transgender adolescents, it is critical that the social transition involve full transition at school, including with respect to restrooms,” the complaint says.

Grimm also has been receiving hormone treatments to deepen his voice and give him a more masculine appearance, according to the court filing.

The lawsuit sees unspecified damages and an order allowing Grimm to use the boys’ restrooms.

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