If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that transgender rights represent the next major front in the battle for LGBT equality. Members of the transgender community experience some of the greatest struggles of anyone, with enduring considerably higher rates of discrimination, suicide, and HIV/AIDs infections than other communities.


Some of the smallest matters in life impact trans individuals in ways we cannot imagine, such as use of a public restroom; Gavin Grimm — a 16-year-old high school sophomore from Virginia — has partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to combat this very issue. Gavin, although born biologically female, identifies as male, and wishes to live out that side of himself in its entirety. However, in December, the school board voted that all transgendered students must utilize private, uni-sex bathrooms to protect the privacy of other students from “salacious” activity.


While the school board made this decision with the intentions of protecting its students, the result has had the opposite effect. Rather than protecting most of its students, the ruling specifically singles out the minority and unnecessarily turns people like Gavin into pariahs. Officially, the ACLU has made the argument that preventing students such as Gavin from using the restroom violates the 14th Amendment, along with Title IX.


Many teens already experience enough trouble establishing a personal identity during their high school years; Gavin seems to understand himself, but lacks the right to express that understanding. James Parrish, the executive director of Equality Virginia, spoke out about the case:

“Affirming children for who they are is simply the right thing to do, and rejecting a child’s deeply held sense of who they are can have very serious consequences. It is sad that this is even a debate.”


The results of this case will set a precedent for the long-standing question of which restrooms transgendered individuals must use. If the growing national acceptance of LGBT rights — as well as the rising prominence of figures such as Caitlyn Jenner — have shown us anything, it’s that those who stand in the way of this sort of progress tend to lose out.


How would you react to transgender restrooms at your school? Please tell us in a comment below or on Twitter @connerws.