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Who is Gavin Grimm and why did Laverne Cox tell Grammys viewers to google him?

A 17-year-old transgender boy got an unexpected shoutout during the Grammys.

Who is Gavin Grimm and why did Laverne Cox tell Grammys viewers to google him?

Tasked with introducing Lady Gaga and Metallica's performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards, actress Laverne Cox used the opportunity to draw attention to a boy named Gavin Grimm.

"Everyone, please Google 'Gavin Grimm,'" the "Orange Is the New Black" star said on stage. "He’s going to the Supreme Court in March. #StandWithGavin."

Laverne Cox speaks onstage during the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, 2017. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.


Who is Gavin Grimm?

He's a 17-year-old boy who sued a Virginia school board in 2015 after the school board barred him from using the boys' bathroom because he is transgender.

Just months away from his graduation, Grimm's case is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court next month. While the outcome is unlikely to affect him in his current situation at school, his battle represents a larger fight for the rights of transgender students.

Journalist Katie Couric (L) and Gavin Grimm attend National Geographic's world premiere screening of "Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric." Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for National Geographic.

Grimm's argument hinges on whether Title IX's sex discrimination provision includes gender identity.

The Obama administration argued that yes, it does. The Trump administration seems much less likely to go to bat for LGBTQ students, which means Grimm's case takes on another level of importance. In just his second day on the job, Trump's new Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled that the administration would not be continuing the Obama-era defense of trans students.

A Supreme Court decision could provide some much-needed clarity on whether gender identity is protected under existing law. Without Sessions' Justice Department on working on behalf of LGBTQ people, a favorable ruling on Grimm's case from the Supreme Court would provide a little breathing room under an administration and Congress that are unlikely to take explicit efforts to create new laws or protections anytime soon.

Gavin Grimm and his mom Deidre. Photo from ACLU/YouTube.

LGBTQ people, allies, and organizations are following Cox's advice and using #StandWithGavin to show support on social media.

Let's face it, being a teenager is hard enough without having to go to the actual Supreme Court for the right just to use the bathroom. Yes, trans people should be allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. (We've covered this.) No, letting trans people use the bathroom that matches their gender identity won't lead to an increase in bathroom-related sexual assaults. (This has been thoroughly debunked.)

For two months, Grimm used his school's boys' bathroom without incident and with his principal's permission. Then the school board swooped in to single him out. That's not right, and these aren't the types of things students should have to worry about. Trans people just want to be able to exist in the world free from violence and stigma. Is that really so much to ask?

To learn more about Grimm's case, check out this video from the American Civil Liberties Union, the group that will be representing him in court.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.