Supreme Court Blocks Order To Let Transgender Student Use Boys' Bathroom

by Meredith Bland
Originally Published: 
Image via ACLU

The Supreme Court’s action means that Gavin Grimm will not be allowed to use the male restroom when he returns to high school in the fall

In a 5-3 ruling, the Supreme Court put off making a decision in a case involving bathroom use by transgender students in a Virginia school district. This temporarily blocks the ruling of a lower court that would allow Gavin Grimm, an incoming high school senior, to use the bathroom associated with his gender identity.

It’s a win for bigots and a loss for Gavin, who now has to start out his school year using the girls’ bathrooms.

Justice Stephen Breyer, the swing vote, voted for the delay as “a courtesy” to his more conservative counterparts, arguing that this would “preserve the status quo” until the court can decide whether or not to hear the case, a process that could take months. While calling this vote “a courtesy” can be seen as a hopeful sign for advocates of equality as it means that the Court will not necessarily vote this way later, the idea that equal rights can be held off as “a courtesy” to others is sickening.

When will we stop bowing to our worst natures? Everyone has a voice in this country and has a right to be heard, but when will we stop allowing that to impact what is right and just?

Originally, Grimm was allowed to use the boys’ bathrooms until the school board instituted a policy that students had to use bathrooms that corresponded to their biological genders, because clearly they have nothing else to worry about? Does the school board need a hobby? I’m sure we could all help them think of one, if it would mean they would stop harassing students.

The school board tried to ride a middle line by offering, “students with gender identity issues” the use of private bathrooms. That might work, except that it is completely wrong in every way. First, the phrase “gender identity issues” is dismissive and inaccurate. Folks don’t tend to dabble in their gender identity; it’s something you’re born knowing to be true. Second, this country has already had the argument over whether or not “separate but equal” works, and I’m pretty sure we came down on the side of “no.”

Grimm sued, and the Appeals Court found in his favor, saying that the policy violated Title IX, which is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. The school board, which appears to be heavily devoted to hatred, has now taken the issue to the Supreme Court.

There is still a chance that the Court will rule on the right side of history and transgender students will be given the right to use the appropriate bathrooms. In the meantime, however, Gavin has to endure the disrespect of a school board that is actively fighting against the rights of one of its students.

And transgender people all over this country are reminded that their basic rights can still be put off as “a courtesy.”

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