Transgender Discrimination Determination in Virginia by U.S. Courts

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A U.S. Court of Appeals has determined that there is transgender discrimination in Virginia. On April 19, 2016, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that transgender teenagers may not be prohibited from using the bathroom of their choosing while in school.

The issue was a school board policy put in place by the Gloucester County School Board, which a student, Gavin Grimm was challenging. The policy was initiated after parents complained to the board. The issue was addressed by deciding restrooms are to be used by students according to the gender listed on their birth certificate. Grimm was born female but identifies as a male and has been able to use the boy’s bathroom since 2014 without issue. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest on the plaintiff’s behalf in the district court.

The Circuit Court of Appeals that issued the ruling sits in Richmond, Virginia. It hears appeals from Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The ruling creates a legal precedent that is now law in all of these states.

Other federal courts have a choice recognize this federal ruling and use it in their decisions. In the event that there is a conflict among the circuits, the case may make its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, on that basis. An appeal to the Supreme Court from this instant decision, by the school board, is also possible.

By Bob Reinhard
Edited by Jeanette Smith


AP: Court Overturns Virginia school’s transgender bathroom rule
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals: Official Site
US Department of Justice: Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board

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