Appeals Court Cites Supreme Court to Affirm Transgender Rights

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Dating all the way back to 2015, the case feels like ancient history at this point, but the D.C.-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has now ruled in favor of former Gloucester County School student Gavin Grimm who challenged the district's policy against transgender bathroom use.

The Trump regime tried to derail the case by repealing the Obama-era Education Department guidelines for transgender bathroom access, but the Supreme Court took a step toward rendering that decision moot this summer.

In today's decision, the Fourth Circuit cited the Supreme Court's recent ruling that the Civil Rights Act applies to discrimination based on sex or gender in the workplace.

Grimm’s case was previously set to be argued in 2017 before the U.S. Supreme Court but was taken off the schedule after President Donald Trump’s administration rescinded guidance previously issued by the administration of President Barack Obama regarding bathroom access for transgender students.

Wednesday’s decision cited the Supreme Court’s landmark June ruling that gay and transgender people are protected under a federal law that bars sex discrimination in employment.

[Judge Henry Floyd] wrote that in light of that ruling, “we have little difficulty in holding that a bathroom policy precluding Grimm from using the boys restrooms discriminated against him.”

In the Supreme Court's majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that their decision does not necessarily apply to every instance of discrimination based on sex or gender, but lower courts clearly think it does.

And it should. To say the Civil Rights Act applies to sex and gender in the workplace but nowhere else wouldn't make sense. The law is more expansive than that and it doesn't follow that sex would mean one thing under one section of the law and something else under other sections.

As long as words still have meaning, and unless Republicans literally repeal the Civil Rights Act, it's difficult to conceive of anti-transgender policies that are legally justifiable.

Personally, I have not used a women's restroom in public yet because the coronavirus pandemic means I haven't been out anywhere long enough to need one, but the idea is scary to me. Some people would tell you transgender people are a threat, but the truth is we're far more afraid than they are. Angry people who think it's their duty to police bathroom use are the scary ones.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Some people would tell you transgender people are a threat, but the truth is we’re far more afraid than they are.

    This is one of the most consistent things about the right wing and “conservatives”. That they flip things 180 degrees and claim others are doing what only they themselves are guilty of.

    – Claim transgender people represent a threat to others when the truth is they are the victims of the crimes committed by the people claiming they’re a threat.
    – Republicans responding to a night of the Democratic convention by claim the Dems were preaching hate and intolerance when all of the speeches the Dems gave that night were about unification. The Republicans then put on a evening that was wall-to-wall divisiveness.

    and so on

  • muselet

    Courts won’t necessarily parse laws in ways that please Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, and that’s usually going to be a good thing.

    Congratulations to Gavin Grimm, and a tip of the cap to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. There’s no telling what the Supremes do when (not if) this case reaches them, but for now, the good guys won.

    Also, does anyone else find the Righty obsession with public toilets disconcerting?


  • b2blog

    I remember reading about Gavin’s case. Great news for them and helping blaze the way for what seems appropriate for everyone.