Education Law

Did school's restroom policy violate Title IX? 4th Circuit considers transgender teen's case

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A transgender teen’s discrimination suit over his high school’s restroom policy was argued Wednesday before the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

None of the three appeals judges hearing the case appeared interested in dismissing the teen’s suit outright, according to coverage by BuzzFeed News. Among the three, Judge Andre Davis seemed most receptive to the argument that federal law bars transgender discrimination, the article says.

The plaintiff is a high-school student in Gloucester County, Virginia, who identifies as male. He says he was banned from the boys’ restroom in violation of Title IX, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex in public schools. The school requires him to use separate, private restrooms.

A federal judge refused the teen’s request for an injunction and tossed the Title IX claim last year.

The teen’s lawyer, Joshua Block of the American Civil Liberties Union, said after the hearing that a decision for the teen could be a “bellwether” guiding other cases, according to BuzzFeed and the Associated Press.

After the hearing, the teen said he hopes his court battle will help other transgender students, although he didn’t necessarily want that role. “I did not set out to make waves,” he said. “I set out to use the bathroom.”

The case is G.G. v. Gloucester County Public Schools. The ACLU has information and documents here.

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