For the first time, the Supreme Court is taking a case regarding transgender students’ rights to use the bathroom matching their gender identity versus their biological sex. Gavin Grimm, a transgender high school student from Virginia, has decided to sue his local school board for passing a new school policy prohibiting him from using the boys’ restroom after being assured he would be treated just like every other kid in school. Some of those from the trans community are calling Grimm a hero for shining a light on this controversial issue, but all he wants to be is a normal boy.
Chase Strangio, a New York attorney and LGBT activist, went to twitter to say, “It is not a “transgender bathroom case” – it is a case about rights of transgender people under federal non-discrimination law #SCOTUS”. The specific law he is referring to is Title IX, a federal law against sex discrimination. But the question is, is this specific case violating Title IX? This law refers to discrimination of sex listed on a birth certificate, not the sex in which someone may identify as. This could make things tricky for the Supreme Court Justices when they vote on this case. Lily García, President of the National Education Association and Utah teacher of the year, tweeted, “All our students need safe and welcoming schools. Looking forward to #SCOTUS affirming that Title IX protects transgender students.” She seems hopeful that at the very least this case will get the attention it deserves and pave a positive path for those to come after Gavin who may face similar obstacles.
America is a democracy which means that the majority rules in this nation. The main reason why the school board suddenly changed their minds about Gavin having the same rights as his peers rooted from a group of parents and students at the school. They complained to the board of education that they were letting a “girl” use the school restroom and that it made other children feel uncomfortable. Wanting to find out more about what people’s views are about this particular issue, I conducted a poll on my twitter regarding trans’ rights to use the restroom in public. I asked, “Do you think Title IX should protect transgender rights based on their gender identity vs their biological sex?” 82% said yes and 18% said no. Then I asked, “When it comes to using public bathrooms, which do you think should be the deciding factor on who uses which bathroom?” 69% answered gender identity and 31% answered sex listed on birth certificate.
This presidential election may play a huge roll in this case. The next President will decide who will fill the open seat on the Supreme Court. It is then up to them to decide not only Gavin’s fate, but the future of the trans community as well. The Court will schedule the matter for argument sometime next year and likely decide the case after Gavin graduates high school.