by Tehgan Anguilm
Imagine that you were born one gender, you grew up your entire life feeling like the opposite gender, and, eventually, you took steps in order to make that a reality. Then, you get to high school and are told that you aren’t allowed to use the restroom of the gender you identify as. How silly, right?
At Gloucester High School, this exact scenario is occurring.
There is a biologically female student that identifies as a male, and his name is Gavin Grimm. He changed his name after coming out to his parents about being transgender, went to hormonal therapy which made his voice deeper and allowed him to grow facial hair, and obtained a state ID that identifies him as a male.
In all aspects of daily life, he is male, so why is he disallowed from using the boys’ restroom? Why is he discriminated against by his school and forced to use a single-stall restroom made specifically for him?
The school board states that his “mere presence in the boys’ restroom is a violation of other boys’ privacy.” The school board also believes that Gavin shouldn’t be allowed to use the girls’ restroom either. It seems like there aren’t many options for him, are there?
The ambiguity of the school board led Gavin to take it to court. Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, Gavin filed a lawsuit and cited the Department of Education and Title IX by distinguishing that “sex discrimination” includes gender identity discrimination. The Department of Education agreed and reasoned that schools “must allow trans students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit decided in April that Gavin must be permitted to use the boys’ restroom in school, thus setting the standard for the country on how to discrimination pertaining to sex applies to transgender individuals. However, in August, the Supreme Court put that decision on hold. By placing the initial decision on hold, Gavin was forced to stop using the boys’ restroom once again.
The Gloucester school board had petitioned the court to hear its appeal, which was what put a hold on the initial decision, and argued that the school shouldn’t have to accommodate transgender students. It stated that if Title IX protects “biological sex” and “gender identity” that the law’s allowances for sex-segregated facilities are now out of the question. This is utterly ridiculous since Gavin is only trying to use the boys’ restroom, not get rid of them altogether.
Another point to mention about Gloucester’s argument was that it did not understand what terms like “gender identity” or “transgender” meant. It thought that gender identity was a fanciful choice when this is definitely not the case. The terms “sex” and “gender” were also used interchangeably in the court. The school felt that if they couldn’t differentiate between transgender and cisgender, that they technically couldn’t discriminate against them either, which would mean that Gavin had no reason to sue.
This controversy over allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with is outrageously asinine. Transgender simply means that a person’s self-identity does not conform with how they were born. If someone were born female and identifies male, as in Gavin’s case, it shouldn’t be a question whether or not they’re allowed in the boys’ bathroom at school. That would be sex discrimination, which is illegal under Title IX, and this is further proven to be true because Gloucester High was making Gavin, and only Gavin, use a single-stall restroom.