Trans student wins $1.3 million lawsuit against school that refused to let him use the men's room

Gavin Grimm came out as a transgender male six years ago to his classmates at Gloucester High School in Virginia. The Gloucester County School Board retaliated by prohibiting students "with gender identity issues" from using the same common restrooms as other boys and girls.

Instead, Grimm was forced to use an "alternative appropriate private facility."

Grimm was excluded from using the restroom that confirmed his gender even after undergoing hormone therapy which "altered his bone and muscle structure, deepened his voice, and caused him to grow facial hair." He also obtained a Virginia state I.D. card and birth certificate that listed his legal sex as male.


To top it off, the school refused to designate him as a male on his transcripts after he graduated. As a result, whenever Gavin was required to provide a transcript to colleges or potential employers, he had to provide one that misidentified him as "female."

via Wikimedia Commons

Grimm filed a lawsuit against the school district in 2015 when he was a sophomore claiming that that school's policy violated Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause. Grimm was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the lawsuit.

The ACLU announced on August 26 that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of Gavin on all his claims and it was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The case was sent to the Supreme Court, but it declined to review it in June, upholding the lower court ruling. Grimm was awarded $1.3 million in the lawsuit but the entire sum, minus $1, is going toward legal fees paid for by the ACLU.

"It's absolutely vindication," Grimm told Insider. "The court found that what they did was wrong and it was discrimination and it was not going to go without consequence, and I think that's fantastic."

The decision is a huge win for the LGBTQ community and it will also act as a deterrent for future anti-trans legislation.

"We are glad that this long litigation is finally over and that Gavin has been fully vindicated by the courts, but it should not have taken over six years of expensive litigation to get to this point," Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement.

"After a year in which state legislatures have introduced an unprecedented number of bills targeting trans youth, we hope that the fee award will give other school boards and lawmakers pause before they use discrimination to score political points," he continued.

Grimm hopes that the decision will slow the tide of anti-trans legislation cropping up all over the country.

"Their hatred and discrimination is struck down in court over and over again," he said of lawmakers pushing anti-trans bills. "I hope that they look at this and know that their time is coming to an end."

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

Keep Reading Show less