A US appeals court on Tuesday ruled in favor of a Virginia transgender student who sought to use the bathroom that matches his gender identity.
In a verdict that could prompt other states to re-examine their transgender laws, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and sent it back for a rehearing in a case related to Gavin Grimm, Reuters reported.
Grimm was barred from using the boys’ bathroom at his local high school in Gloucester County, Virginia. The student was born a female but identifies as a male.
After drawing community complaints for allowing Grimm to use the boys’ bathroom for a time, the school district approved a policy in December 2014 requiring students to use single-stall unisex restrooms or restrooms associated with their physical sex.
A district court dismissed the student’s claim that the school policy violated Title IX, a federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in schools.
But the appellate court has now ruled in Grimm’s favor and sent it for rehearing, in a case that could impact the national bathroom wars playing out between gay rights activists and social conservatives.
“Today’s decision gives me hope that my fight will help other kids avoid discriminatory treatment at school,” Grimm said in a statement, calling the ruling a relief and vindication.
In its ruling, the appellate court noted that federal education officials have interpreted Title IX to extend to transgender students and said the lower court did not appropriately defer to the regulations.
The court’s jurisdiction includes North Carolina, which recently became the first state in the nation to restrict bathroom access to an individual’s sex at birth.
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