Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fourth Circuit Vacates the Order Protecting Gavin Grimm, But Casts Him As a Modern Human Rights Leader - Education Law Prof Blog

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Fourth Circuit Vacates the Order Protecting Gavin Grimm, But Casts Him As a Modern Human Rights Leader

The Fourth Circuit has vacated the injunction that was securing Gavin Grimm's access to facilities consistent with his gender in Gloucester County Schools.  Less than a year ago, it seemed Grimm's case was set to open doors for others across the country.  He had the federal government and an appellate federal court on his side.  While Grimm's bravery and persistence has had positive impacts, the federal government and courts took two steps forward just to take two, if not three, steps backward.  At least two judges on the Fourth Circuit lamented this result, but cast Grimm as the victory in the broader scheme of things.  In a concurrence to the order vacating Grimm's injunction, Judges Davis and Floyd wrote:
G.G., then a fifteen-year-old transgender boy, addressed the Gloucester County School Board on November 11, 2014, to explain why he was not a danger to other students. He explained that he had used the boys’ bathroom in public places throughout Gloucester County and had never had a confrontation. He explained that he is a person worthy of dignity and privacy. He explained why it is humiliating to be segregated from the general population. He knew, intuitively, what the law has in recent decades acknowledged: the perpetuation of stereotypes is one of many forms of invidious discrimination. And so he hoped that his heartfelt explanation would help the powerful adults in his community come to understand what his adolescent peers already did. G.G. clearly and eloquently attested that he was not a predator, but a boy, despite the fact that he did not conform to some people’s idea about who is a boy.
Regrettably, a majority of the School Board was unpersuaded. And so we come to this moment. High school graduation looms and, by this court’s order vacating the preliminary injunction, G.G.’s banishment from the Education Law Prof Blog:

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