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Supreme Court to consider potentially landmark transgender rights case

The case pertains to school bathrooms, but it could have far broader implications.

An LGBTQ protester in front of the Supreme Court. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Supreme Court will consider whether transgender students are legally entitled under federal law to use the public school bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, the court announced on Friday.

The case involves Gavin Grimm, a trans boy who filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia so he could use the boys’ bathroom at his school.

Grimm argued that Title IX, the federal law that bans discrimination based on sex in schools, also protects trans people — because discrimination against trans people is fundamentally rooted in expectations surrounding the gender people were assigned at birth. This is the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX.

The district court sided against Grimm, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with him. The Supreme Court will now settle the issue.

The Supreme Court’s decision could have huge implications across the country. If bans on sex discrimination in schools also protect trans people, then existing bans on sex discrimination in state laws, the federal Civil Rights Act, and the federal Fair Housing Act could protect trans people from discrimination in other settings as well — particularly the workplace and housing, where trans people are not explicitly protected under federal law and most states’ laws.

For more on the battle over trans rights, read Vox’s full explainer.


Watch: How most states still discriminate against LGBTQ people