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Department of Justice and Department of Education Complaint Against Virginia School Board for Transgender Bathroom Policy

Last Update: December 19, 2014

What's at Stake

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia have filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Justice and Department of Education against Gloucester County Public Schools (GCPS) for adopting a bathroom policy that segregates trans students from using the same restrooms and locker rooms as their peers. The school board adopted the policy by a vote of 6-1 on December 9, 2014, despite warnings from the ACLU that the policy violates federal law prohibiting schools from discriminating based on sex.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a tenth grade boy who is transgender diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Grimm had been using the boys’ restroom facilities at Gloucester High School since October 2014 without any complaints from his peers prior to the adoption of the policy.

The school policy restricts male and female school restrooms to students with “corresponding biological genders” or requires transgender students to use an “alternative private facility.” According to the complaint, the policy discriminates against Grimm on the basis of his sex in violation of Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972.

Since the beginning of the school year, Grimm had been open about his gender identity with Gloucester High School’s administration, teachers and students. Prior to October, he exclusively used unisex restroom facilities in the nurse’s office, but found that experience to be stigmatizing and isolating.

Experts have found that the “biological gender” policy interferes with transgender students’ ability to fully participate in daily school activities and restricts them to an exclusionary environment where they often feel ostracized.

Status: Complaint filed

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