101 Transgender Americans Voice Support for Gavin Grimm as His Landmark Title IX Discrimination Case Heads to The Supreme Court

TLDEF Brief Spotlights Positive Contributions of Transgender Americans and Harms of Denying them Basic Freedoms that Allow Full Participation in Society.

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Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund has filed a friend-of-the court brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of Gavin Grimm. Grimm is a transgender 17-year-old from Virginia who is challenging the Gloucester County School Board’s discriminatory policy that prohibits transgender students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. His lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia, argues the bathroom policy violates Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.

The Amicus Brief, filed in conjunction with the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, includes powerful testimonies from a diverse group of transgender Americans who are thriving in their careers across a broad spectrum of fields including transportation, education, mechanics, medicine, law, science, and the arts. The individuals represent a range of ages and come from diverse geographic, political, socioeconomic, and racial/ethnic backgrounds. Many signatories are advocates in their own right, including lead signatory Jennifer Michelle Chavez and signatories Britney Austin and Brandi Branson–all of whom brought pathbreaking federal sex discrimination cases. Several celebrities, including Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, and the Wachowski Sisters, join dozens of other transgender Americans from all walks of life. They “are united in their strongly held belief that resolutions like the one adopted by the Gloucester County School Board are discriminatory and inhibit transgender individuals from realising their full potential in their personal and professional lives.”

“The brief delves deeply into the lived experiences of transgender citizens, highlighting the positive contributions they make that enrich their families, their professions and their communities,” said TLDEF Director of Impact Litigation Ezra Young. “It also underscores the immense harms of denying transgender people basic human rights like using bathrooms, while stressing the importance of supportive educational environments that allow transgender people to succeed and add to the rich fabric of American life.”

Howard Zelbo of Cleary Gottlieb said, “In this brief transgender individuals speak directly to the Court. They tell their personal stories, describing their contributions to our country and the devastating impact that discriminatory restroom policies have on their ability to participate as full and equal citizens.”

The brief concludes by explaining that the transgender people who have signed the document “are everyday Americans with hopes, dreams, talents, successes and the desire to live a life fully realised. They seek basic freedom, respect and dignity so that they may continue to be positive participants in their communities.”  They go on to urge the Court “not to accept an interpretation of Title IX that would reduce them and all transgender individuals to second-class citizens, but instead to promote the valuable contributions they make to American society.”

Read the brief here, including the full list of 101 signatories.

Photo By John P Salvatore [CC0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons