Statement on Fourth Circuit Decision in Favor of Trans Student
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed today that transgender students who are restricted from using the bathroom consistent with their gender identity can sue under Title IX. The court overturned a district court dismissal of a Title IX case by Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy who was prevented from using the boys’ restroom. The Fourth Circuit court pointed out that the district court failed to defer to the Department of Education’s established position that Title IX requires schools to ensure transgender students’ restroom access.
NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said:
We welcome this sensible and very important decision that promotes fairness and dignity for all students, by holding that a trans student who was denied access to a restroom has a valid Title IX claim. In light of this important ruling, we urge the U.S. Department of Education to swiftly issue guidance to all schools regarding their obligations under Title IX. We also press North Carolina legislators to heed this ruling by repealing HB 2, the state law that flies in the face of Title IX. North Carolina is part of the Fourth Circuit, which issued today’s ruling, and must follow the court’s decision. While many people are still learning who transgender students are and how to treat transgender students fairly, the court has rightly recognized that treating all students with dignity, including regarding restroom access, is the right thing to do—it costs nothing and harms no one. On the other hand, as recent weeks have shown, discrimination is harmful, costly, and illegal.