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Toilet ban for transgender people may end, but virginia teenager still upset with transcript listing her as female

“I shouldn’t have to be unmasked against my will in every situation where I should give this document,” said Gavin Grimm

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NORFOLK, Virginia – For nearly four years, Gavin Grimm has been suing his old school district after he banned him from using the boys’ toilets in high school.

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Along the way, he has become a national face for transgender rights. His case almost went to the United States Supreme Court. He graduated and moved to California, but continued to fight.

The Virginia school board could eventually give in, but not in court. It will hold a public hearing on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of allowing transgender students to use toilets that match their gender identity.

“I have fought this legal battle for the past four years because I want to make sure that other transgender students don’t have to go through the same pain and humiliation as me,” he said. .

The Gloucester County School Board meeting comes just months before the start of a lawsuit over its current bathroom rules.

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Grimm said the proposed policy “is far from perfect, but would represent an important first step for Gloucester”. The policy “would also send the message to school districts in (Virginia) and across the country that discrimination is unacceptable,” he said.

I have fought this legal battle for the past four years because I want to make sure other transgender students don’t have to go through the same pain and humiliation as I have.

Grimm also expanded his case against the school board. A federal judge ruled Thursday that he could pursue his refusal to change the gender on his high school transcript, which still lists him as a woman.

Grimm said the unchanged transcript will stigmatize him whenever he applies to a college or potential employer who asks him to do so.

“I shouldn’t have to be unmasked against my will in any situation where I should be giving this document,” Grimm said in a telephone interview from the San Francisco Bay Area, where he moved after getting graduated in 2017.

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A court order legally made Grimm a man. And he’s listed as a male on his birth certificate, passport, and state of California issued ID.

This Tuesday, August 25, 2015 photo shows Gavin Grimm leaning on a pole on his porch during an interview at his home in Gloucester, Virginia.
This Tuesday, August 25, 2015 photo shows Gavin Grimm leaning on a pole on his porch during an interview at his home in Gloucester, Virginia. Photo by AP Photo / Steve Helber

Grimm’s transcription issue highlights another concern of the transgender community which, like bathroom policies, remains far from resolved across the country.

Federal law does not directly address the issue. Some states, such as Massachusetts, provide explicit guidance to schools for updating records. Others, like Virginia, do not offer a clear path to schools.

“The problem is certainly growing as more and more students express their gender identity,” said Francisco M. Negron Jr., legal director of the National School Boards Association.

“We hope that states provide clear guidance,” he added. “The alternative is that students would have to make their case for themselves, and school districts would not have the benefit of clarity under state law.”

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Paul D. Castillo, lawyer for LGBT rights group Lambda Legal, said Grimm’s efforts to update his transcript were “not an isolated incident.”

“But this could be one of the first challenges based on federal law to update a student’s legal record,” Castillo said.

David Corrigan, senior counsel for the Gloucester County School Board, declined to comment on the case or how it might be affected by a possible policy change. The neighborhood is located about an hour east of Richmond.

Grimm’s trial followed a roundabout path that almost included a judgment in the United States Supreme Court.

The High Court had planned arguments for 2017. But they were dropped after the Trump administration withdrew the Obama-era recommendations to allow students to use the bathroom of the sex of their choice.

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As late as December, Gloucester was still battling the lawsuit as well as Grimm’s efforts to incorporate his transcripts into it.

Grimm and the American Civil Liberties Union claim the policy violated his rights under the equal protection clause of the US Constitution and federal policies that protect against gender discrimination. They make the same argument about Grimm’s transcriptions.

The school board had argued that its toilet policy did not violate Grimm’s rights but protected student privacy.

When it comes to transcripts, the board says these recordings are state law, which should not be challenged in federal court.

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Further, the board said, Grimm has ignored federal guidelines on such matters. The guidelines recommend holding a hearing with school officials to discuss changing “misleading” or “inaccurate” information on a record.

If the board refuses to make a change, the guidelines say that a person can then attach a statement to the contested record setting out their point of view.

It’s not clear if a change in the board’s bathroom policy could result in a change to Grimm’s transcripts.

Since moving to California, Grimm has been studying at a community college and working as an activist and educator.

He has been able to avoid submitting his transcript to anyone so far. But that will likely change soon. He is looking for a more traditional job and will eventually apply to four-year schools.

“I am still attached to 2017 by this document,” he said. “It’s unfair that a high school that put me through so much to be able to exert so much negative influence on my adult life.”

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