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Philadelphia Civil Rights Lawyers: Transgender High School Restrooms

April 22nd, 2016

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit handed down a favorable decision Tuesday for a Virginia teenager who has taken the fight against transgender discrimination in his high school to federal court. The plaintiff, a 16-year-old high school junior at Gloucester High School in Gloucester County, VA, was born with female anatomy, but identifies as male. He came out to his classmates and began using the boys’ bathroom during his sophomore year. Parents of other students at the school were outraged. They prompted the school board to implement a policy that requires students to use bathrooms that correspond with their biological gender and relegates transgender students to a separate unisex bathroom.

The teen, who felt “humiliated and dysphoric” being forced to use a separate facility, filed a lawsuit in June 2015 claiming that the school board’s transgender bathroom policy violated Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. The high schooler also requested that the court grant a preliminary injunction allowing him to use the boys’ bathroom while his case is pending. Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board was denied by Judge Robert G. Doumar of the Eastern District of Virginia in October, 2015. On April 19, in a 2-1 decision, the 4th Circuit ruled that the lower court must rehear the case and should reconsider granting an injunction allowing the teen to use the boys’ bathroom in the meantime.

The 4th Circuit judges based their decision on the position of the U.S. Education Department, whose interpretation of Title IX renders transgender bathroom rules that prevent transgender students from using bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity as discriminatory.

The case has gained national attention and could have far-reaching implications. Many people in the LGBT community and their supporters are watching to see how the outcome of this case will affect recently filed lawsuits challenging “religious freedom” laws in North Carolina and other states that have passed legislation that effectively discriminates against transgender individuals and other members of the LGBT community.

Philadelphia Civil Rights Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Represent Victims of Discriminatory Practices

Philadelphia civil rights lawyers at the Sidney L. Gold & Associates fight for the rights of workers who have been subject to unlawful discrimination based on gender identity, gender, sex, race, nationality, or religion. Contact us online or call 215-569-1999 for a confidential free case evaluation.

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