March 29, 2017 at 3:00 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Equality Virginia to honor Gavin Grimm at annual dinner

Equality Virginia will honor Gavin Grimm at its annual Commonwealth Dinner on April 1, 2017. (Photo courtesy of American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia)

Equality Virginia will honor Gavin Grimm at its annual Commonwealth Dinner that will take place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond on Saturday.

Grimm is a transgender student at Gloucester County High School who filed a 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.” The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in Grimm’s case on March 28, but it remanded it to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond after President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX requires them to allow trans students to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

“Gavin never sought the spotlight for an act as simple as using the restroom,” said Equality Virginia. “But through his persistence, Gavin has shone a light on the needs of transgender students in our schools.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to attend the dinner.

The dinner will take place nine days after McAuliffe vetoed Senate Bill 1324, a religious freedom measure that critics contend would have allowed discrimination against same-sex couples.

McAuliffe is the first gubernatorial candidate in a Southern state to publicly back marriage rights for same-sex couples. He is also the first Virginia governor to proclaim June as LGBT Pride month.

The first executive order that McAuliffe issued upon taking office in 2014 banned discrimination against LGBT state employees. He signed a second executive order in January that bans discrimination among state employees, contractors and subcontractors based on their gender identity and expression.

“2017 marks Gov. McAuliffe’s last year in office and gives us the opportunity to honor his many contributions to Virginia’s LGBT citizens,” says Equality Virginia on its website.

Equality Virginia on Saturday will also honor Congressman A. Donald McEachin; Fairfax County Public School Pride President Robert Rigby; Michael Hamar, a gay lawyer who works in the Hampton Roads area, and Victoria Kidd, who, along with her wife, Christy Berghoff, are among the same-sex couples who challenged the commonwealth’s marriage amendment. De Sube, a trans rights activist in Virginia Beach, and Lisa Griffin, a Richmond doctor who advocates for better health care for trans Virginians, will also receive Equality Virginia’s OUTstanding Virginians award.

Georgia Rogers Farmer will perform during the dinner.

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

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