Remember Gavin Grimm, the transgender Virginia high school student who was set to have his case against his school district heard by the U.S. Supreme Court? I do. Grimm initially filed the suit because he wanted to use the bathroom associated with his gender identity.
While the case was delayed over the summer, SCOTUS today announced they wouldn’t be hearing the case at all, which is not a surprise, considering Donald Trump recently repealed the policy that protected the rights of transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. This means, according to the ACLU, the case will be returned to the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.
Grimm’s case is so important to everyone, not just students (although that should be enough to gain mass support). Transgender people work in businesses, corporations, non-profits, and you know, go to public places where there are bathrooms. As Laverne Cox, a transgender woman, actor, and activist said recently on CBS This Morning, it’s about personhood, not just bathrooms:
“What people should know about these bathroom bills that criminalize trans people… is that these bills are not about bathrooms. They’re about whether trans people have the right to exist in public space. If we can’t access public bathrooms, we can’t go to school, we can’t work, we can’t go to healthcare facilities—this is about public accommodations and public accommodations are always the key to civil rights.”
Indeed, this will be the first major U.S. decision regarding whether transgender people are included under sex discrimination laws. That’s a really big deal. This case affects everyone, but it especially is a blow to Grimm, who put himself in a vulnerable position in front of the entire country. This not an easy feat. Grimm may face even more discrimination and hatred than he already has. But he told NBC that he’s not giving up:
“It definitely hurts to hear your government saying that you’re not deserving of protections that you should have as a transgender student.
It was just very frustrating. I think that’s the main emotion that a lot of people felt. Because this guidance was in place, and it was positive, and now it’s rolled back. And a lot of people probably don’t see any necessity for that.
It doesn’t mean that the world is ending even though it might very well feel that way. It’s scary and you’re allowed to be afraid. But understand that people like the ACLU are still fighting tooth and nail every day and they will not stop doing that no matter what the administration comes out with and does.”
I’m not sure what this means for the future of transgender rights, but I do sincerely hope those with power to do something positive will take this as a catalyst to do so. It also is a reminder to all of us that we can’t back down, we have to keep fighting for our rights. Regardless, we also need to support, and keep supporting, the transgender community. Check out Jewish organization Keshet’s campaign for more information on how to do this.