"When I returned to school, it was under a new name with new pronouns," says transgender student Gavin Grimm, 15. "Easy as pie." And while he says his peers at Virginia's Gloucester High School "were open-minded, open-armed" about his decision to return as a boy, it wasn't quite that easy because the seemingly simple question of which school restrooms he should use soon arose. At first, he tells 13NewsNow, he used the nurse's bathroom, "because clearly I could not use the girls' restroom. I'm not a girl." When that proved inconvenient and out of the way, he was permitted to use the boys' bathroom—until last night, when the school board voted 6-1 to limit use of bathrooms to people of "corresponding biological genders."
It's a contentious issue, and Gavin isn't the only one calling discrimination, notes BuzzFeed: Equality Virginia and the ACLU, which is representing Gavin, claim that not only is the board's vote "extremely stigmatizing and harmful to kids," but it's illegal—a violation of federal law. "I truly believe we are in violation of Title IX and at risk of losing our federal funding," says the lone board member to vote against the measure, who is also a lawyer. "When a school district accepts federal funds, it does so on the condition of following federal laws." That does little to assuage parents' concerns, but she characterizes students' attitudes thusly: "This is not important to us. We don’t care, we are more accepting, and you can be whoever you are and that’s fine. I just go to the bathroom and go back to class."