GLOUCESTER, Va. (Christian Examiner) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia over the school board's refusal to aid a transgender student in her "social transition" from a female to a male by providing access to the boys' restroom.
In the complaint, filed on behalf of "Gavin Grimm" with the U.S. District Court's eastern division in Newport News, the ACLU claims the teen was "designated female at birth, but he has a male gender identity."
The lawsuit also claims the teen has been officially diagnosed with "Gender Dysphoria," referred to by retired John Hopkins psychiatrist Paul McHugh as a "mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention."
According to the lawsuit, Gavin – the name assumed by the girl after legally changing her name – has been receiving hormone therapy and treatment for the mental condition since the end of her freshman year.
"Shortly before his sophomore year, Gavin and his mother informed school officials that Gavin is a transgender boy. School officials immediately expressed support for Gavin and took steps to ensure that he would be treated as a boy by teachers and staff. Later in the school year, at Gavin's request, and consistent with recognized standards of care for transgender students, school officials allowed him to use the boys' restroom. He did so without incident for approximately seven weeks," the lawsuit claims.
However, parents of the boys using the same restrooms – and some residents without school-aged children – caught wind of the presence of a girl in the boys' restroom and pressured the Gloucester County School Board to act.
The board then adopted a policy by a 6-1 vote that barred transgender students from selecting the restroom corresponding to their gender identity. Restrooms, the board said, would be used only for students of "corresponding biological genders."
The ACLU claims now that Gavin Grimm, at the end of the school year, was forced to use a private restroom and denied full social interaction with those of the "same" gender, undermining "the social transition process."
During a school board meeting with open public comment late in 2014, Gavin Grimm told the school board she wanted to be a "normal child and use the restroom in peace."
"I did not ask to be this way and it's one of the most difficult things anyone can face," Grimm said. "This could be your child ... I'm just human. I'm just a boy."
After the 2014 meeting, board members tried to prevent any further legal escalation by adopting a policy to improve privacy in restrooms. It also planned to designate "single-stall, unisex restrooms, similar to what's in many other public spaces" to provide privacy for any student wishing to use them.
That was not enough for the ACLU or the teen. According to the lawsuit, Grimm refused to use the separate single-stall restrooms because they "make him feel even more stigmatized and isolated than when he used the restroom in the nurse's office. Being required to use the separate restroom sets him apart from his peers, and serves as a daily reminder that the school views him as 'different.'"
The ACLU claims that the privacy of boys using the restroom is no longer a concern since the school district modified the privacy accommodations in the boys' restroom.
The liberal organization claims the Fourteenth Amendments equal protection clause requires the school district to treat a biological female as a male if the student so requires, in order to avoid long-lasting psychological harm.
"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 the color of state law, has treated and continues to treat Gavin different from similarly situated students based on his gender," the ACLU's filing said.
The ACLU has asked for an expedited judgment so the teen can begin the school year in August as a sophomore.
In the Wall Street Journal in 2014, McHugh, now retired from John Hopkins University, wrote there are fundamental problems with the transgender movement. Chief among those is bad science, which fails to recognize that "gender dysphoria" is largely a temporary mental disorder.
"When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London's Portman Clinic, 70%-80% of them spontaneously lost those feelings. Some 25% did have persistent feelings; what differentiates those individuals remains to be discerned."
"Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder," McHugh wrote.
The Gloucester County School Board has yet to respond to the complaint filed by the ACLU.