A Virginia school board that has fought to protect its gender based bathroom policy in court may soon give up the fight with new policies to appease transgender students.
The Gloucester County School Board plans to hold a hearing this week over the possibility of allowing transgender students to use the school bathroom facilities that correspond to their “gender identity” rather than their biological parts, the Associated Press reports.
The move comes as the board prepares for trial over a federal lawsuit filed by former student Gavin Grimm, who was born female but decided to become a male in high school. School officials initially allowed Grimm to use the restroom of his choice, but backlash forced officials to enforce school policies that separate students by gender. District officials offered to allow Grimm and other transgender students to use private facilities, but Grimm rebuffed the offer and sued to force his way into the boy’s room.
Grimm argues the biologically based bathroom policy discriminates against transgender students, and his lawsuit was backed by the Obama administration’s analysis of federal anti-discrimination laws. Obama decreed that schools across the country must allow transgender students to use whatever bathroom or shower facilities they choose, a message that came with the implied threat of lost funding for schools that refused to comply.
The Gloucester County School Board refused to comply, though it’s now considering a new policy. The Trump administration has since rescinded the Obama-era directive.
Grimm, now 19, was a sophomore when he filed the lawsuit, which he’s used to promote himself as a transgender activist. He’s since graduated from Gloucester High School and lives in San Francisco, where he attends community college, according to the AP.
The proposed change to the Gloucester school policy “would allow transgender students to use the restroom consistent with the student’s asserted gender identity” if they meet certain criteria, the Daily Press reports.
“If this policy had been in place when I was a sophomore at Gloucester High School, I would have been able to continue using the same restrooms as other boys without being singled out and isolated from my classmates and friends,” Grimm said in a statement provided to the news site by the ACLU, which is representing Grimm in his lawsuit against Gloucester schools.
“I have fought this legal battle for the past four years because I want to make sure that other transgender students do not have to go through the same pain and humiliation I did,” he said.
The proposed policy change in Gloucester County would require transgender students to provide medical documentation from their treating physician who specializes in transgender issues, and would require students to prove their asserted gender identity for six months with “social transition or hormonal therapy.”
Grimm told the AP the new policy “is far from perfect, but would represent an important first step for Gloucester.”
He contends it “would also send the message to school districts across (Virginia) and the country that discrimination is unacceptable.”
Grimm and the school district remain engaged in the lawsuit, which Grimm has expanded to address further grievances with the district regarding his transgender status.
Grimm legally changed his sex to male on his birth certificate, passport and state-issued California identification card, but his school transcripts still list him as female.
Grimm claims the document “stigmatizes him” by listing his birth sex.
“I shouldn’t have to be outed against my will in every situation where I would have to give that document,” Grimm complained to NBC.