RICHMOND, Va. – A Virginia school board defended its transgender bathroom ban before a federal appeals court Tuesday, as a transgender man barred from using the boys bathroom in high school argued that the policy discriminated against him and violated his constitutional rights.
David Corrigan, a lawyer for the school board, said school officials treated Grimm with respect after he began transitioning from female to male during high school, accommodating his request to use male pronouns and to be called by his new name.
Grimm had chest reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy. He also obtained a Virginia court order and Virginia birth certificate declaring his sex as male in 2016, when he was in 12th grade.
Grimm's lawsuit alleged that the school board violated his equal protection rights as well as Title IX, the federal policy that prohibits gender-based discrimination.
But Corrigan argued that the law protects against discrimination based on sex, not gender identity. Corrigan said that because Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and still had female genitalia, the board’s position was that he remained anatomically a female.
“Our position is, it’s a binary concept, that you have males and females,” Corrigan said.
Joshua Block, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the board treated Grimm differently than other students when it required him to use separate but unequal facilities — either bathrooms that corresponded with his biological sex — female — or private bathrooms.