May 22, 2018 at 8:49 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Judge declines to dismiss Gavin Grimm lawsuit

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Gavin Grimm speaks at SMYAL’s annual Fall Brunch in D.C. on Nov. 6, 2017. A federal judge in Norfolk, Va., has declined a motion to dismiss his lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board. (Washington Blade photo by Tom Hausman)

A federal judge on Tuesday declined to dismiss a lawsuit that a transgender man filed against his Virginia school district’s bathroom policy.

Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk, Va., — who in 2014 ruled the state’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman is unconstitutional — in her decision declined a motion from the Gloucester County School Board to dismiss Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit. The Associated Press reported Allen also ordered lawyers who represent Grimm and the school board to schedule a settlement conference.

Grimm in 2015 filed a federal lawsuit against the Gloucester County School District’s policy prohibiting students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that don’t correspond with their “biological gender.” Grimm and his lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union alleged the policy violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case in March 2017. The justices remanded it to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires them to allow trans students to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

Allen in her ruling upheld Grimm’s claims under Title IX and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Grimm — who graduated from Gloucester County High School last June — welcomed the decision in a statement the ACLU released.

“I feel an incredible sense of relief,” he said. “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.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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