WASHINGTON — 53 U.S. companies have signed on to a legal brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of a Virginia girl who identifies as a boy and wants to use the boys’ restroom at school.
“The [school district’s] policy discriminates against transgender children and violates their privacy. The policy forces children to use restrooms according to their ‘biological gender.’ This mandate targets transgender individuals in particular because they are the only people for whom ‘biological gender’ fails to correspond with gender identity—indeed, this disparity is a defining aspect of being transgender,” the brief reads in part.
“The policy places transgender youth—and only transgender youth—in the humiliating and painful position of having to publicly deny and disclaim their gender identity,” it asserts.
Participants in the brief include Amazon, Apple, eBay, Etsy, Microsoft, PayPal, Twitter, Spotify, IBM, Gap, LinkedIn, RetailMeNot and Yahoo.
As previously reported, the case centers around a Gloucester High School student who goes by the name Gavin Grimm, now a senior. Three years ago, Grimm was directed to use the nurse’s restroom after she began identifying as a boy, but soon decided that she would rather use the boys’ restroom.
“The nurse’s office is at least a three minute walk from the class I have closest to it. It took a substantial amount of time out of my class time, and it was embarrassing,” Grimm told reporters in 2014. “When you’re gone for 15 minutes at a time to use the bathroom, what are high schoolers gonna think? It’s humiliating and it’s alienating.”
The student therefore spoke to the principal about the matter, who suggested that Grimm go ahead and use the men’s restroom since she identifies as a boy. But some of the parents of the male students soon learned about the allowance, and the issue turned up before the school board.
Due to the concerns of parents, the board voted to approve a policy requiring students to utilize the restroom that correlates with their biological gender, or to use a private bathroom.
In response, Grimm sued the Gloucester County School Board with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in an effort to overturn the policy.
“By excluding Gavin—a transgender boy—from the boys restrooms because the school board does not deem him to be ‘biologically’ male, the school board, under color of state law, has treated and continues to treat Gavin differently from similarly situated students based on his gender,” the suit asserted.
Last September, District Court Judge Robert Doumar, appointed to the bench by then-President Ronald Reagan, ruled against Grimm, disagreeing with the ACLU that the board had violated Title IX with its restroom policy.
“Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and not on the basis of other concepts such as gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” Doumar wrote.
The ACLU appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled 2-1 in favor of Grimm in April by pointing to the Obama administration’s recent interpretations of the federal statute.
It then sent the case back to Doumar, who was instructed to rule in light of how the U.S. Department of Education views the federal statute. Doumar consequently ordered the board to allow Grimm to use the boys’ restroom.
The Gloucester County School Board then appealed the order to the U.S. Supreme Court, asserting that it will cause “irreparable harm to the board, to the school system and to the legitimate privacy expectations of the district’s schoolchildren and parents alike.”
In August, the court granted the board’s request for an emergency injunction, and in October, it agreed to hear the case. Oral argument is scheduled for March 28, however, it is unknown as to whether the court will rule on the matter since the Trump administration has now rescinded the Obama administration’s directives on public school restroom use.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lamented the brief submitted by the 53 U.S. companies on Thursday.
“Big business shouldn’t be advocating for boys to share the girls’ locker rooms and showers—and vice versa—in our public schools, and yet that’s precisely what these 53 companies are doing,” said legal counsel Kerri Kupec in a statement. “What they should be supporting is the bodily privacy and dignity of all students, instead of simply disregarding the rights and reasonable concerns of many students and parents.”