SCOTUS Declines To Hear Challenge To Trans Bathroom Rights

The Supreme Court building in Washington DC

The Supreme Court building in Washington DC

The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by a Virginia school board that hoped to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban.

That decision leaves in place lower court rulings that found the policy unconstitutional.

From the New York Times:

An appeals court had ruled that the policy violated the Constitution and a federal law by prohibiting the student, Gavin Grimm, from using the same bathrooms as other boys. The school said Mr. Grimm could use a private bathroom.

The Supreme Court had agreed to hear an earlier appeal in the case but dismissed it in 2017 after the Trump administration changed the federal government’s position on transgender rights. The Biden administration has since adopted policies protecting transgender students.

What this means: there is now strong precedent that schools in the 4th Circuit (Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia) cannot prohibit students from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Last year, the Supreme Court for the first time ruled in favor of transgender rights, saying that a federal employment discrimination law applied to LGBTQ workers.

News Round-Up: August 26, 2020

Snoopy doing his best turned-in Fosse leg

Some news items you might have missed:

National Dog Day: Celebrating all of the furry family members that make our lives liveable. That’s the amazing Snoopy above, and yes, he is giving you turned-in Fosse leg 🙂

NY Times: Just over two months before Election Day, Donald Trump is trailing in almost every poll to former Vice President Joe Biden, whom activists credit with pushing President Obama to support gay marriage. And Trump’s advisers are suddenly talking about LGBTQ people as they scramble to find new voter support.

Washington Blade: A federal appeals court on Wednesday once again ruled in favor of Gavin Grimm, a transgender man who challenged his Virginia school district’s bathroom policy.

The Advocate: Well-known homophobe and pool boy/personal trainer aficionado Jerry Falwell Jr. will receive a $10.5 million severance package from Liberty University as he heads out the door amid controversy.

CNN: A sudden change in federal guidelines on coronavirus testing came this week as a result of pressure from the upper ranks of the Trump administration, a federal health official tells CNN – “It’s coming from the top down.” The new guidelines raise the bar on who should get tested, advising that some people without symptoms probably don’t need it — even if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person.

New Music: Rising pop artist MkX has released his latest single “Fall” – an escapist pop bop that wrestles with the feeling of falling in love.

“I wrote “Fall” about the three stages of falling for someone,” says MkX. “The first stage is apprehension and wanting to protect yourself from getting hurt. The second stage is realization and coming to terms with the fact that you’re starting to fall in love. The third stage is owning it and switching roles by making that person fall for you. Each chorus has the same melody, but slightly different lyrics that reflect each of these stages.”

MkX is a new artist for me but I definitely like mixing up synth-pop and R&B on a very modern, ‘now’ soundscape.

School Board Has Filed Appeal After Losing Gavin Grimm ‘Bathroom’ Case

Last month, Gavin Grimm, a transgender man who graduated from Gloucester High School in Virginia two years ago, won his long legal battle with his former high school over the right for trans students to use the public bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

But this week, the Gloucester County School Board decided to appeal the federal court ruling in Grimm’s favor.

And so, Gavin Grimm will have to fight his trans ‘bathroom case’ yet again.

Yes, he’s graduated and moved on, but the pro-trans ruling is so important to trans people that you can bet the 20-year-old activist will continue the good fight.

His case dates all the way back to 2014, when he began to transition in his sophomore year of high school.

Grimm began using a men’s restroom and told school administrators what was going on in his life.

But in December of that year, the school board instituted a policy that prohibited Grimm from using the boys’ room.

Grimm filed his initial law suit in 2015 with the aid of the ACLU. Since that time, he has been locked in this never-ending legal.

He finally took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago, but the high court sent the case back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals after the Trump administration reversed Obama-era protections for transgender students in American public schools under Title IX.

Trans Student Finally Wins His “Bathroom Rights” Court Case

Gavin Grimm

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled in favor of transgender student Gavin Grimm, reaffirming that both the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protect transgender students from discrimination.

In 2014, the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia voted 6-1 in favor of a discriminatory bathroom policy that would force transgender students to use a single-stall restroom. Grimm had previously been allowed to use the boy’s restroom.

In 2015, Grimm sued the Gloucester County, Virginia school board.

Initially, Grimm won his case but there were multiple appeals by the school board.

In 2017, the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices refused to hear the case. Instead, they vacated Grimm’s courtroom victory and sent it back to the lower courts.

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ordered the school board to settle with Grimm, who has since graduated.

Grimm issued this statement:

“I feel an incredible sense of relief. After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law. I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through.”

Today’s ruling also requires the school district to update Grimm’s transcripts to reflect his gender.

The Human Rights Campaign responded as well.

“Every student should feel safe at school, regardless of gender identity. Transgender students are covered by Title IX and the United States Constitution and are entitled to the same rights and protections as every other student,” said Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel.

“With the Trump-Pence administration’s barrage of attacks on LGBTQ people in this country, including against students, we are pleased that yet another federal court decision has reaffirmed legal rights and dignity of transgender people,” continued Oakley. “Congratulations to Gavin Grimm and the American Civil Liberties Union on this milestone victory.”

Many federal courts, including the court today, have affirmed that Title IX and other federal nondiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination against transgender people, including with respect to restroom access.

(source: HRC)

News Round-Up: May 23, 2018

blake.jpg
Blake McGrath

Some news items you might have missed:

• Canadian dancer and choreographer Blake McGrath looking chill in Miami Beach (above). Check out his Instagram for videos of his ah-mahz-ing choreography.

• Netflix’s series 13 Reasons Why has come under fire for a controversial, graphic male rape scene.

• A Boy Scout and his dad were kicked out of a hardware store because the store employee doesn’t “support homos.”

• One of the gay men Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to in 2015, David Ermold, lost his bid to challenge Davis for her office.

• A federal judge in Virginia has sided with transgender student Gavin Grimm over the rights of trans students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

• The NFL has announced a new policy that will fine teams an undetermined amount if players on the field fail to stand during the national anthem played before the start of the game. Players who wish to protest will be allowed to remain in the locker room.

• Check out Jess Glynne’s new single, “I’ll Be There.” Glynne is the first-ever British female to earn six #1 UK singles. I’ve previously featured her collaboration “Real Love” with Clean Bandit on The Randy Report. Hit play below.

News Round-Up: April 20, 2017

Some news items you may have missed:

• Jerry Herman’s classic Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! returns to the Great White Way tonight at the Shubert Theatre in a brand new revival starring a reportedly delicious Bette Midler. I made my Broadway debut in the last revival back in 1995 (I’m on the far left above) when Carol Channing made a spectacular return to the role of “Dolly Levi.” Wishing this new cast all the best for a fantastic run!

• TIME Magazine names Gavin Grimm, Sarah Paulson and RuPaul to this year’s “100 Most Influential People” list.

• Adam Medrano, the council member who chairs City Hall’s LGBT Task Force, has made LGBT youth homelessness a top priority. His leadership has led to the creation of Outlast Youth, a collaborative effort intent on finding beds, counseling, health care and job training for homeless LGBT youth.

• On the other end of the spectrum in Texas news, Governor Abbott says he wants to sign a transgender “bathroom bill.”

• Turning this year’s Pride Parade in Los Angeles into an anti-Trump march is making it tough to attract the event’s usual sponsors.

• CNN spoke to to two men who describe being detained, beaten and tortured in Chechnya as part of the country’s violent crackdown on homosexuality. Watch below:

Gavin Grimm: The Fight For Transgender Rights Is Bigger Than Me

Transgender high school student Gavin Grimm pens an incredibly mature and clear-eyed essay for the New York Times chronicling his two year struggle to be accepted, and the “crazy, stressful, busy, breathtaking, rewarding, beautiful, fantastic” road he’s traveled since challenging the discrimination perpetrated by his school board.

Grimm sums up the journey thusly:

This case will not be resolved until after I graduate. But this fight is bigger than me. I came to realize that very early on, and it is truer now than it ever has been. This fight is for other trans youth in my high school. It is for other trans youth in Virginia. It is for all trans youth who are in school or one day will be. It is for the friends and loved ones of these youth, who want these children to be happy and healthy, rather than at risk and in danger as so many trans people are.

I am often asked if I regret my actions, or if I would do anything differently if I had the chance. When people ask that, I immediately think about the hundreds of parents who have reached out to thank me on behalf of their children. I think of the hundreds of young people who have thanked me themselves. I think of the countless #StandWithGavin messages on social media, and the countless hugs and handshakes at school and on the sidewalks of my town. I think of people I’ve gotten to meet and grown to love. I think of how honored I am to carry the voice, in some way, of a community so rich and so colorful and so important. I think of how I’ve grown from that 15-year-old child, sitting in fear as he waits to hear what his future will be, into the young man who stands hand in hand with a huge community as we all prepare to take the next step in this fight. I think of my parents, unwavering and strong as pillars in my success and growth. And I say, “Absolutely not.”

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it will not hear Gavin’s case this term, sending the case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in the wake of the Trump Administration’s revocation of school guidance ensuring the protection and dignity of transgender students.

#NotTheEnd

Laverne Cox: “It’s Not About Bathrooms”

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to vacate the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on trans high school student Gavin Grimm’s case, and then kick it back for reconsideration at the 4th, actress/trans activist Laverne Cox shared a powerful essay with InStyle about her views on the current state of the rights of transgender folks.

Just a bit from the personal essay:

Over 30 percent of trans people report not eating or drinking so they can avoid going to public bathrooms. Sixty-percent of us have avoided using a public restroom out of fear of being harassed or assaulted. Even when I’m in liberal cities like LA or New York, I would rather not use public bathrooms. But if you leave your house, you have no choice.

But don’t be fooled: These bathroom laws aren’t really about bathrooms. When the current administration rescinded the guidelines for how transgender students should be treated in schools, they made it all about bathrooms. But the Obama-era guidelines also included pronoun and name preferences for these young people as well. These are important components of how trans kids should be treated in school, but all that is lost when we sensationalize this issue. It’s not about bathrooms. It’s about the humanity of trans people, about us having the right to exist in a public space.

There’s more at the link, and I really encourage you to read it.

Today needs to be just a speed bump, not a stop sign.

Transgender Rights Case Scrapped At SCOTUS

Gavin Grimm

There will be no historic ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on transgender rights. At least not this year.

From Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday scrapped consideration of the case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of transgender student Gavin Grimm, who’s seeking to use the boys’ room in Virginia schoool consistent with his gender identity.

In a notice of the court, justices grant summary disposition in the case, remanding it to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration in the aftermath of the Trump administration revocation of Obama-era guidance assuring transgender students can use the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

The 4th Circuit Court based it’s ruling in great part on the Obama-era guidance. In the aftermath of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind those guidelines, the ruling falls apart.

#ThanksTrump

Important to note: SCOTUS decided to “vacate” the case. Had the 8 justices simply decided to not take the case, Grimm’s win at the lower court would have stood. “Vacating” sends the case back to the appeals court to start all over again.

GLSEN issued this statement:

“The Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to end the painful discrimination currently faced by tens of thousands of transgender students nationwide,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director in response to SCOTUS’ decision to decline to hear the case of transgender student Gavin Grimm, instead referring it back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The position previously taken by the Departments of Education and Justice lifted up best practices for K-12 schools to improve the lives of students and provide a clear path to opportunity. We remain confident the courts will ultimately stand with Gavin and other transgender students in seeking access to school facilities that correspond with their gender identity and determining their gender-affirming name and pronouns, but in the meantime trans students are left without clear protections from our Federal government while the case is reheard.

“Additionally, the federal government continues to backtrack on their commitment to supporting transgender students, making it more important than ever that educators, schools, school districts, and state governments make explicitly clear their support through inclusive school values statements and comprehensive policies.”

From Joshua Block, the lead ACLU attorney representing Gavin Grimm: