Four Northern Virginia school systems stand up for transgender students
By Keya Vakil
May 1, 2019

Four Northern Virginia school systems are taking a stand in support of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen who sued the Gloucester County School Board after he was barred from using the boys’ restroom in his school.

The school boards in Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax and Arlington counties weighed in on the long and controversial case last month in court papers. Their declaration comes before Grimm’s case heads to trial this July in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Grimm’s case initially reached the Supreme Court and became a national story and a symbol over the fight for transgender students’ rights. The case returned to the district court after President Donald Trump’s administration abandoned an Obama-era position that transgender students should use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

The school systems offered their support for transgender students, saying that allowing transgender students to use the restrooms that align with their gender identity makes the students feel safer and more comfortable. They also rejected the commonly referenced arguments that the policy allows men to enter female restroom and would allow sex offenders to prey on children.

The decision of the school systems is consistent with their recent actions, as they have also recently approved measures to expand protections for transgender students. These measures don’t guarantee transgender students access to bathrooms that match their gender identity, but schools insist they’ll work to accomdate students’ requests on a case-by-case basis.

This isn’t enough for activists, who continue to push for transgender students to have guaranteed access to restrooms that match their gender identity.

Whether these school systems meet this request may hinge on Grimm’s case, which started all the way back in 2015.

While Grimm, who is now 19 and out of high school, is unlikely to be directly affected by the decision in his case, the rights of other transgender students across the country could hinge on what happens in a Virginia courtroom this July.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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