The Supreme Court Leaves A Transgender Student's Legal Victory Intact
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Today the U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the use of bathrooms by transgender students. Without comment, the court left in place a lower court decision that says local school boards may not require transgender high school students to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.
NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: The court's action puts an end to Gavin Grimm's seven-year fight against the Gloucester County, Va., school district. Beginning in his freshman year in high school, Grimm identified as male and began taking male hormones. But after he was initially allowed to use the boys' bathroom, the school board passed a rule requiring that transgender students use bathrooms corresponding to their sex listed at birth. In 2014, he addressed the school board.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
GAVIN GRIMM: We do know scientifically that this is not a choice. All I want to do is be a normal child and use the restroom in peace, and I have had no problem from students to do that, only from adults.
TOTENBERG: Grimm, now 22, has graduated from high school. His case has gone up and down the federal court system twice, and a federal appeals court has twice ruled in his favor. Now the Supreme Court has formally put an end to the case, leaving his victory intact. But the controversy is unlikely to go away. The federal government's policy on the issue has changed three times in the past seven years, with the Obama administration first advising schools that they cannot discriminate in the treatment of trans students, the Trump administration withdrawing that legal advisory and now the Biden administration going back to the non-discrimination position. Meanwhile, last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act banning employment discrimination based on sex makes it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgender employees. That decision has been cited by several lower courts in ruling that the federal law similarly bans discrimination based on sex at schools that receive federal funds.
Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.