Supreme Court takes on Virginia school district bathroom issue in first transgender rights case

A
sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting
transgender bathroom access in Durham, North
Carolina
Thomson
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed
for the first time to rule on transgender rights in a case in
which a Virginia public school district is fighting to prevent a
female-born transgender high school student from using the boys’
bathroom.

The justices agreed to hear the Gloucester County School Board’s
appeal of a lower court’s April 19 ruling that transgender
students are protected under U.S. laws barring sex-based
discrimination. The case involves a 17-year-old transgender
student named Gavin Grimm, who identifies as male and sued to win
the right to use the school’s boys’ bathroom.

The case, due to be argued and decided before the end of June,
will be one of the biggest of the court’s term.

The court remains one justice short following the February death
of Antonin Scalia, which left it with four conservatives and four
liberals. That raises the possibility of a 4-4 ruling that would
leave in place the decision favoring Grimm by the Richmond-based
4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A 4-4 ruling would set no
nationwide legal precedent.

The Supreme Court has not directly ruled on transgender rights
before. But in 1994 the court did rule in favor of a male-born
transgender prison inmate identifying as a woman who was held
with male prisoners and said she was beaten and raped by another
inmate.

 

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

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