G. G., by his next friend and mother, Deirdre Grimm Plaintiff - Appellee
GLOUCESTER COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD Defendant-Appellant
consideration of the unopposed motion to vacate preliminary
injunction, the court vacates the preliminary injunction
entered by the district court on June 23, 2016.
Judge Davis wrote a concurring opinion in which Judge Floyd
at the direction of Judge Floyd with the concurrence of Judge
Niemeyer and Senior Judge Davis.
Senior Circuit Judge, concurring:
concur in the order granting the unopposed motion to vacate
the district court's preliminary injunction and add these
then a fifteen-year-old transgender boy, addressed the
Gloucester County School Board on November 11, 2014, to
explain why he was not a danger to other students. He
explained that he had used the boys' bathroom in public
places throughout Gloucester County and had never had a
confrontation. He explained that he is a person worthy of
dignity and privacy. He explained why it is humiliating to be
segregated from the general population. He knew, intuitively,
what the law has in recent decades acknowledged: the
perpetuation of stereotypes is one of many forms of invidious
discrimination. And so he hoped that his heartfelt
explanation would help the powerful adults in his community
come to understand what his adolescent peers already did.
G.G. clearly and eloquently attested that he was not a
predator, but a boy, despite the fact that he did not conform
to some people's idea about who is a boy.
a majority of the School Board was unpersuaded. And so we
come to this moment. High school graduation looms and, by
this court's order vacating the preliminary injunction,
G.G.'s banishment from the boys' restroom becomes an
enduring feature of his high school experience. Would that
courtesies extended to others had been extended to G.G.
country has a long and ignominious history of discriminating
against our most vulnerable and powerless. We have an equally
long history, however, of brave individuals-Dred Scott, Fred
Korematsu, Linda Brown, Mildred and Richard Loving, Edie
Windsor, and Jim Obergefell, to name just a few-who refused
to accept quietly the injustices that were perpetuated
against them. It is unsurprising, of course, that the burden
of confronting and remedying injustice falls on the shoulders
of the oppressed. These individuals looked to the federal
courts to vindicate their claims to human dignity, but as the
names listed above make clear, the judiciary's response
has been decidedly mixed. Today, G.G. adds his name to the
list of plaintiffs whose struggle for justice has been
delayed and rebuffed; as Dr. King reminded us, however,
"the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends
toward justice." G.G.'s journey is delayed but not
case is about much more than bathrooms. It's about a boy
asking his school to treat him just like any other boy.
It's about protecting the rights of transgender people in
public spaces and not forcing them to exist on the margins.
It's about governmental validation of the existence and
experiences of transgender people, as well as the simple
recognition of their humanity. His case is part of a larger
movement that is redefining and broadening the scope of civil
and human rights so that they extend to a vulnerable group
that has traditionally been unrecognized, unrepresented, and
plight has shown us the inequities that arise when the
government organizes society by outdated constructs like
biological sex and gender. Fortunately, the law eventually
catches up to the lived facts of people; indeed, the record
shows that the Commonwealth of Virginia has now recorded a
birth certificate for G.G. that designates his sex as male.
lawsuit also has demonstrated that some entities will not
protect the rights of others unless compelled to do so.
Today, hatred, intolerance, and discrimination persist - and
are sometimes even promoted - but by challenging unjust
policies rooted in invidious discrimination, G.G. takes his
place among other modern-day human rights leaders who strive
to ensure that, one day, equality will prevail, and that the
core dignity of every one of our brothers and sisters is
respected by lawmakers and others who wield power over their
and will be famous, and justifiably so. But he is not
"famous" in the hollowed-out Hollywood sense of the
term. He is famous for the reasons celebrated by the renowned
Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shehab Nye, in her
extraordinary poem, Famous. Despite his youth and
the formidable power of those arrayed against him at ...