Federal courts in late May delivered opinions affirming the rights and dignity of transgender students in two cases in which Americans United had filed friend-of-the-court briefs.
A federal court on May 22 ruled that a Virginia high school had violated the civil rights of transgender teenager Gavin Grimm by refusing to let him use boys' restrooms in accordance with his gender identity. It was a bittersweet win for Grimm, now 19, as it came a year after he had graduated from Gloucester High School.
"I came to understand a very long time ago that this was not going to affect me in a way that positively impacted my ability to function in school.... The issue is for all the kids out there who were waiting for something like this," said Grimm, who told The Washington Post that being forced to use a separate, unisex bathroom at Gloucester contributed to his feelings of alienation in high school. "The tears were because there was a vindication of what I've been saying for four years."
Two days later, a federal appeals court affirmed a Pennsylvania school district's right to implement a policy that allows transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity.
Not only did the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rule in favor of Boyertown Area School District's policy, but the court issued a rare decision from the bench less than an hour after oral argument had ended. Judge Theodore McKee said he and the other two judges on the panel ruled so quickly because they knew it was an important issue for Boyertown students, many of whom would be graduating within a few days.
The lawsuit against Boyertown...