Appeals Court Cites Supreme Court to Affirm Transgender Rights

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in 2017 before the U.S. Supreme Court but was taken off the schedule after President Donald Trump’s administration rescinded guidance previously issued by the administration of President Barack Obama regarding bathroom access for transgender students.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