Cases & Advocacy

G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board Amicus

Gavin Grimm transitioned in his sophomore year of high school and started using the boys’ restroom. Despite using the restroom for nearly two months without incident, the Gloucester County School Board adopted a policy prohibiting him and other transgender students from using the facilities that match their gender identity. Gavin sued his school district for violating federal law. Gavin eventually graduated, but the school district continued to discriminate against him by refusing correct the gender marker on his school records and transcript.

The District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia granted Gavin’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that the school district violated federal law by excluding Gavin from the boys’ restroom and refusing to correct the gender marker on his school records. The school district appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit. On November 25, 2019, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Transgender Law Center (TLC), Cooley LLP filed an amicus brief in support of Gavin Grim in that appeal. The brief tells the stories of families raising transgender children in states within the Fourth Circuit (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) and around the country. Read a blog by Asaf Orr, NCLR’s Transgender Youth Project Director, about this important brief.

NCLR, along with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Foley Hoag LLP, also filed an amicus brief in support of Gavin when the case was previously pending before the United States Supreme Court. The brief addressed the various privacy arguments raised by the school district to justify its discriminatory policy. The Supreme Court ultimately dismissed the appeal and the case was eventually remanded to the Eastern District of Virginia.

When Gavin’s case was first on appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, NCLR, GLAD, and Goodwin Procter LLP filed an amicus brief in support of Gavin Grimm on behalf of the prominent doctors and organizations focused on transgender health. Citing peer-reviewed research, GLAD and NCLR’s brief demonstrates that 1) schools play a crucial role in child development; 2) identity development is the task of every child, particularly in adolescence; 3) external factors such as stigma, social segregation, and discrimination can harm the development of identity in transgender youth; 4) external factors such as social integration, school support, and the leadership of adults can support the healthy development of transgender adolescents.