An appeals court in Virginia overturned a former decision that barred a student, Gavin Grimm, from using the boy’s restroom. For several weeks in 2014, Grimm was granted access to use the restroom with his male counterparts, but this privilege was terminated soon after due to the fact that, many students, and parents alike, complained that his using of the restroom was not acceptable. As a result, the “school board adopted a policy requiring students to use either the restroom that corresponds with their biological gender or a private, single-stall restroom.” Although such a decision was made to “protect” the majority, it harmed the minority group of transgender individuals, such a Grimm.
As mentioned in the article, “Grimm, 16, said he started refusing to wear girls’ clothes by age 6 and told his parents he was transgender in April 2014.” In addition to this change in gender identity at a young age, Grimm also revealed to the publishers that he legally changed his name and began taking hormones to deepen his voice, with the help and support of his parents. Sadly, his transition from female to male was impacted negatively, and based on the actions taken by the school, it can be inferred that society had a big impact on his negative experience.
The article includes that, “a psychologist diagnosed him with gender dysphoria, characterized by stress stemming from conflict between one’s gender identity and assigned sex at birth.” The importance within this single piece of fact is that Grimm faced a conflict between who he is and who he was assumed to be, which was emphasized and implanted into his mind more strongly when the school board forced him to use a restroom that coincided with his birth gender, not that which he is and will continue to be. In response to the decision by the school board, the U.S. Justice Department became interested in Grimm’s case and declared that, “failure to allow transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity amounts to sex discrimination.”
The important fact on this ongoing debate over how gender should be decided affects every individual, in the sense that most people know at least one individual who struggles through this “shunning” from society. For decades, people shunned minority groups like African-Americans and Hispanics from equal treatment, but as time has gone on to prove, the minority groups have much to offer our society. For example, our country has seen the first African-American president, and many strong Hispanic leaders have risen to government officials, thus proving that these groups offer more than just cleaning services and gang violence to our society. Overtime, it can only be hoped that people in our society can overturn their own grounded ideas and open their minds to new concepts, just like Virginia has opened the door to a change in their state.
To emphasize this idea, an image of the commonly seen male and female figure outside of restrooms has been included in my analysis, which is fortunately in mostly black and white. This contrast in colors captures the idea that things in this world aren’t always black and white because there are elements of grey in this image, conveying that there is and always should be a middle ground where people should be allowed to meet and make compromises.
Sources and quotes used in this story:
“Appeals Court Overturns Virginia School’s Transgender Bathroom Rule.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.