Supreme Court Restricts Bathroom Usage For Transgender Students

On Wednesday, August 3, the United States Supreme Court agreed to put a hold on a federal judge’s lower-court ruling as to transgender people’s public bathroom usage. The school district of Gloucester County, Virginia is challenging a decision by a federal court that it must allow a student assigned female at birth to use the boys’ bathroom during the coming year. While the school board appeals the decision, the Supreme Court has been asked by the board to block the lower court order.

Essentially: The student in question, Gavin Grimm, will not be able to use the restroom of his choice in the upcoming school year. The Supreme Court is not necessarily siding with one side or the other but is instead allowing time for further trial in order to reach a true conclusion, blocking all prior decisions before a final one is made.

This lower court ruling did not include locker rooms, showers or places of various undress, but instead only pertained to restrooms. The school board lawyers stated, “Depriving parents of any say over whether their children should be exposed to members of the opposite biological sex, possibly in a state of full or complete undress in intimate settings, deprives them of their right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.”

This is the first Supreme Court ruling of its kind, as banning students from using the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity would violate the standards of Title IX, a statute that bans sex discrimination in schools. This Title IX law was used in Grimm’s favor in the lower courts, helping gain Grimm access to the bathroom of his choice. The ruling cited a letter from the Education Department saying, “a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.”

The school board has said that they will ask the Supreme Court to overturn the lower courts’ decision sometime in August. However, the court will not act on this request until at least October. Further action and a decision in the case will not be coming anytime soon.


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