Gavin Grimm, the Virginia transgender student who took a bathroom case to the United States Supreme Court, dropped part of his case Friday, after years of high-profile litigation that could have marked the first transgender case to be heard by the high court.
Papers were filed in Richmond just before 4 p.m. to drop the appeal seeking an immediate end to the Gloucester County Virginia school district’s bathroom policy. Lawyers form the ACLU will continue a longer-term approach to seek a permanent end to the rule that kept Grimm from using the men’s room.
The legal maneuvering comes largely because of concerns that Grimm no longer had standing in the case.
Judges with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled that Grimm may not be able to pursue the litigation, because the student graduated high school earlier this summer. The high school bathroom policy at issue, the judges wrote, only applies to students, not alumni.
Grimm hoped to change the Gloucester school district’s bathroom policy, which he argued was a violation of his federal civil rights.
Grimm was born a female but identified as male from his freshman year, and has since been taking hormone therapy. His case went to the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration, but was removed from the calendar March 6, 2017.
The justices said in an opinion without dissent that the case should return to a lower court in Virginia, after the Trump Administration changed the U.S. Department of Education’s policy on transgender bathrooms.
The Obama White House sent a letter to public school systems nation-wide, saying the districts could lose federal funding if students were not allowed to use the bathrooms matching their personal gender identification.
President Donald J. Trump rescinded that letter, making it impossible for either side to argue the merits of a transgender policy that no longer existed on the federal level.
“We believe that today’s filing represents the most efficient path forward to ensuring that justice is served for Gavin,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project.
“Gavin graduated from high school before his simple request to his school board to treat him like every other boy could be validated, but this case is far from over. We’ll continue to move forward so that Gavin’s rights are vindicated and so that we can ensure that no other transgender students in Gloucester County have to go through what Gavin went through.”