On transgender bathroom rights before G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board

The Supreme Court will hear a case in late March regarding the bathroom rights of transgender students throughout America. Their ruling may mirror many of the most important decisions our Court has made throughout American history

The Supreme Court represents the most powerful judicial body in the United States.  Consequently, their rulings often embody questions of constitutionality upon the most widespread of scales. Freedom rights, abortion rights, the ending of school segregation and the limiting of executive privilege are several examples of landmark verdicts that have carved our nation’s history over the last two centuries. The legalization of same-sex marriage has provided perhaps the most recent landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in the form of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. The most contentious and potentially monumental Supreme Court case set to be heard this year was undoubtedly that of G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board.

This case directly involves the bathroom rights of transgender youth in public school facilities. Rooted in the horrendous treatment of Gavin Grimm, a transgendered high school student from Virginia, the case will define the parameters to which Title IX sanctions outlaw discrimination upon gender identity, calling into question the constitutionality of gender identity discrimination within all public educational facilities. Originally planned for a hearing in late March, the Supreme Court scrapped the suit early Monday morning in response to President Trump’s recent rescinding of the Obama-era provision that interpreted Title IX to protect against gender identity discrimination. The case was sent to the lower Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia and has received a scheduled April hearing. Undoubtedly, the case will be appealed, regardless of the verdict, meaning the suit will eventually return to the Supreme Court, postponing the final ruling for another year and forcing a cloak of fear over transgender youth throughout the nation.

The privilege of peacefully performing an act so monotonous and boring as that of using the bathroom is something many cisgendered people take for granted everyday. When addressing gender identity and its relation to bathroom usage, one must never forget a very simple, yet somehow often overlooked concept: transfolk are not asking for special treatment in their pursuance of using the bathroom. Instead, asking to use the bathroom that corresponds to one’s gender identity is a request for a simple acknowledgment and validation of human existence. It is not a request for opulent facilities dripping with golden fixtures and modern decorations. It is a request to use the same stinky, dirty, unpleasant public bathrooms cisgendered citizens use simply by necessity. Essentially, it is a request to be disgusted at public bathrooms in the same manner as that of cisgendered citizens. It is a request to quickly enter, use and exit a public bathroom without having to worry of one’s safety.

As the Circuit Court begins hearing oral arguments in April, I seriously hope they consider the monumental ramifications of their ruling. One ruling affords the transgendered community justice, while the other strengthens the perpetuation of nonsensical fear and life-threatening discrimination. One of the finest exhibitions of human indecency currently plaguing humanity is the stark denial and invalidation of the transgender community in our own society and societies throughout the world. Specifically with regard to the bathroom rights of transgender Americans, our nation struggles to understand the importance of such a simple concept. I sincerely hope the court rules in favor of the transgender community, for such justice is long overdue.


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