Gavin Grimm: School Board to Pay $1.3 Million in Anti-Transgender Bathroom Policy Lawsuit

Photo: (Photo : Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Out)

After years of going back and forth in a court battle, a Virginia school board has agreed to pay $1.3 million in a lawsuit over its anti-transgender bathroom policy. However, Gavin Grimm, who sued the Gloucester County School Board in 2015, will receive just $1 in this case.

Grimm revealed that he's not getting any payout from his lawsuit in a statement posted on his Twitter account. Though he won the case at the Supreme Court, most of the money will go to his legal fees.

Still, Grimm has welcomed the conclusion to his case and issued a statement through the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that "discrimination is an expensive losing battle." According to the ACLU, this lawsuit, which marked the first federal court case defending the rights of transgender students over an anti-transgender bathroom policy, wouldn't have to drag on if the school allowed Grimm to use the boys' bathroom. Instead, the school board chose to fight the young man in court for more than five years.

'Alienating and Humiliating'

Grimm, who was assigned female at birth, had legally changed his name and came out as a transgender when he started undergoing hormone therapy as a 15-year-old. The school principal was supportive of Grimm's choice to use the boys' bathroom in school. However, the school board overruled this call and adopted an anti-transgender bathroom policy for students "with gender identity issues."

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According to Buzzfeed News, Grimm felt the policy was "alienating and humiliating" since he was forced to use the girls' bathroom, a gender that he didn't identify with. He also felt excluded when the school board asked him to use an alternative private bathroom when he finally received his state identification card bearing his new name and new gender.

In 2017, the lower courts sided with Grimm and said that the school board went against the Education Amendments of 1972, underscoring Title IX discrimination. The school board appealed the case at the Supreme Court, which declined another hearing and upheld the earlier decisions.

Following the Supreme Court's final decision, the ACLU urged schools to adopt the Department of Education's guidance to extend every student the right to education without discrimination and harassment. Grimm, who is now 22 years old, has recently been made a member of the ACLU Board of Directors.

'Garbage and Hatefulness'

Grimm continues to fight for the protection of transgender students and takes part in discussions on anti-transgender bathroom policy at other public schools in Virginia. He sat and listened to a meeting among the Newport News School Board members and the Chesapeake School Board.

While Newport News School Board decided to adopt the federal government's guidance for transgender students for the incoming school year, Chesapeake School Board refused to make any changes. Grimm said that sitting at these meetings brings back a flood of memories as he listened to the "garbage and hatefulness" coming from the comments and inputs of some officials.

Grimm expressed his disappointment for Chesapeake's decision, citing that they could face a similar costly lawsuit from the students and their families. Virginia doesn't have any repercussions for school districts that do not adopt an anti-discrimination policy, but Grimm believes that the guidance must outline the consequences for schools.

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