RICHMOND, Va. — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal discrimination complaint against a Virginia school district over a new policy that requires transgender students to use restrooms according to their “biological gender.”
The complaint was filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a tenth-grade transgender teen who, until October, had been using the boys’ restrooms at Gloucester High School with the school’s permission and without any complaints from his peers.
But the school board said it received complaints from some parents, and on Dec. 9, the board adopted a new policy designating school restrooms as specific to students’ biological gender.
The policy requires transgender students to use facilities that are either inconsistent with their gender identity or to use an “alternative private facility.”
According to the administrative complaint, filed with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education by the ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia, the policy discriminates against Gavin on the basis of his sex, in violation of Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972.
“By adopting this new ‘biological gender’ policy solely to prevent Gavin from using the same bathroom as other boys, Gloucester Public Schools sends an incredibly stigmatizing message that segregates Gavin and other transgender students from their peers.” said Joshua Block, attorney in the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project.
Gavin, who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, said he is taking hormone medicine and plans to have a sex change.
He says that since the school board has implemented the “biological gender” policy, “school no longer feels as safe and welcoming as it did before.”
Article continues below“Being singled out is a glaring reminder of my differences and causes me significant discomfort every time I have to use the restroom,” said Gavin, in a statement.
“Courts have repeatedly found that gender identity discrimination is sex discrimination,” said ACLU of Virginia legal director Rebecca Glenberg. “Consigning transgender students to segregated bathrooms prevents them from participating in school activities on an equal basis and causes exclusion and ostracism.”
A recent Department of Justice memo states that under Title IX, transgender students must be treated “consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes.”