Gloucester transgender student Gavin Grimm has been named one of Time Magazine’s “30 Most Influential Teens of 2016.”
Grimm first gained national prominence after he sued the Gloucester County School Board for a policy that relegated him to using the nurse’s bathroom or a handful of broom closets that had been converted into unisex bathrooms.
For Grimm, who had previously been permitted to use the boys’ restroom and did so for a few weeks without incident, challenging the school board’s ruling was the only option.
“It was never a question of ‘Do we do this?’” Grimm told Time. “It’s just not in my nature to give up so easily when my rights are being violated.”
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Grimm, ruling that the board’s policy banning him from the boys’ restroom constitutes sex discrimination and violates Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Subsequently, a federal judge issued an order to allow Grimm to use the boys’ restroom while his case works its way through the courts. In response, the Gloucester County appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Fourth Circuit’s ruling.
The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether it will take up Grimm’s case. If it refuses to hear the case, the Fourth Circuit’s ruling would apply not just to Grimm, but any transgender student living in the Fourth Circuit, which includes Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina and North Carolina. In turn, that could impact the outcome of lawsuit being waged against laws like North Carolina’s HB 2, which restricts transgender people from accessing public accommodations consistent with their gender identity.
Grimm appears on the Time list along with Amandla Stenberg, an actress and advocate on race and gender identity who identifies outside the gender binary, and James Charles, a makeup artist who became the first CoverBoy for the CoverGirl cosmetics line. Others on the list include gold and silver Olympic medalist Laurie Hernandez, actress and dance star Maddie Ziegler, and First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama.