Transgender male Gavin Grimm wins in Federal Court-finally

Gavin Grimm

By Richard Hack

It may have taken over six years and multiple appeals, but transgender male Gavin Grimm from Gloucester, Virginia, can now use the men’s room–officially.  He was 15 years old when he announced to his family that he had transgender dysphoria and identified himself as a male.

From that point on, he was known as Gavin, responded to the pronouns he, him and his, and began to use the boy’s room at Gloucester High School.  Or at least he was until a member of the Glocester community decided to make an objection to the school board, which then decided to created special single stall bathrooms labeled Unnisex, thinking it had solved the issue.

“I’m not unisex,” Gavin Grimm objected and proceed to sue for his right–and the rights of all transgender people in Virginia–to use the bathroom of the sexual identity. For most, this should have been a non-starter. A no-brainer.

“People expect me to say that using the boys’ bathroom was super magical and just the best time of my life,” Grimm told CNN in 2016. “But I was just using the bathroom,” he said. “I went in and left.”

But the teenager was portrayed as some kind of ogre by the religious right.

“I’m nothing particularly threatening or extraordinary, I’m just another 17-year-old kid” Grimm said at the time. “I have 17-year-old fears and worries and I have 17-year-old motivations, which is just to get out of high school and have fun with my friends and family. There’s just nothing about me that is predatory or dangerous, or warrants the kind of response I got from the community.”
It has taken over three years, but last Wednesday, a federal appeals court delivered a verdict that left no doubt that Grimm’s fight was not in vein. For him, and other proponents of transgender rights, the ruling stated that it was

unconstitutional and a violation of Title IX for schools to bar students from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

The long-running legal fight has become a flashpoint in the battle over LGBTQ rights in education. With the latest ruling by the U.S Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, albeit one that was fought virtually by teleconference, that fight is over. Wednesday’s decision cited the Supreme Court’s landmark June ruling that gay and transgender people are protected under a federal law that bars sex discrimination in employment.

“All transgender students should have what I was denied: the opportunity to be seen for who we are by our schools and our government. Today’s decision is an incredible affirmation for not just me, but for trans youth around the country,” Grimms said earlier this week.

Richard Hack is an award-winning author and journalist. He Is LGBTQ Loyalty Holdings' Vice President of Content and Executive Editor of

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