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Laverne Cox Gives Shout Out To Gavin Grimm

Updated on February 15, 2017

He Just Wants The Right To Use The Bathroom

Gavin Grimm is a 17-year-old transgender boy who just wants the opportunity to walk into a male washroom and do what he needs to do. He honestly didn't expect to have the entire nation up in arms about it, or to face the Supreme Court in March of this year.

Countless Americans were doubtless Googling just who Gavin Grimm was after Laverne Cox of Orange Is The New Black said, “Please Google ‘Gavin Grimm.’ He’s going to the Supreme Court in March. Hashtag stand with Gavin."

Grimm also became more of a public figure following his appearance in the Katie Couric hosted documentary, Gender Revolution, that aired on National Geographic in early February 2017. On the documentary, Grimm was able to share his story.

It seemed fairly simple, at first; he came out as transgender in his sophomore year in high school in Gloucester, VA, and from there, had been allowed to use the boys' washroom for two months before the school board passed policy that said he was not allowed to do so anymore. He was permitted to use the unisex bathroom, but he maintained that he only wanted to use the washroom that corresponded with his gender, not the gender he was born with.

Thus began the battle that will see him taking on the Supreme Court in March, and the battle which saw one of the nation's most outspoken transgender activist giving him a very public shout out.

As with all things involving LGBTQ and most specifically transgender rights, things are never simple. Grimm sued the school board, arguing that the board was violating Title IX, the federal law against sex discrimination in schools. The case is also partially based on a directive from then-president Barack Obama that the nation's public schools should allow students to use the washrooms that align with their gender identity. While it is possible that President Donald Trump could rescind that directive, some are wondering whether the Supreme Court will hear Grimm's case or whether the case will go to a lower court.

To make the choice to fight all the way to the Supreme Court for what he believes is right demonstrates incredible strength of character and conviction on Grimm's part at just 17 years of age. No doubt, the teen is nervous; he's gone from being an out, and relatively unknown, teenager to a kid whom everyone - or at least most people - now knows. His head's got to be whirling with the sheer enormity of what's been going on, and now that he's garnered the notice of Laverne Cox, he's most likely just blown away by just how big of a deal just wanting to use the right bathroom has become for him.

A Really Big Shout Out


Fighting For What's Right

#StandWithGavin is the hashtag that the ACLU has been using since they began fighting Grimm's court case, and it's the school board that has brought an appeal to the decision made by the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals before the Supreme Court for late March.

This case could end up being a landmark. This is the court case that could end up determining the outcomes of future court cases involving transgender students, and therefore has engendered a great deal of interest on both sides of the debate about what sort of washroom Grimm should actually use. There are those who feel that Grimm should be satisfied with using a unisex washroom, as it represents to them a compromise between a full blown men's room and a ladies' room.

However, Grimm is a transgender male and wants the same rights as his male colleagues, and that's a fair request. We need more people like him to pave the way for what we feel is right; he has become a national activist in what is almost certainly an international struggle.

There appears to be some sort of warped perception out there held by some that transgendered individuals identify as such in order to go to the bathroom that identifies with their gender identity so that they can prey on others - think North Carolina's contentious HB2 law and the arguments that have sprung up in defence of said law. People who seem different will almost certainly go through a degree of suspicion before people become comfortable with them, but what transgender individuals are going through is nothing short of ridiculous.

Identifying as trans is no phase, and the people who identify as such aren't doing so in order to perpetrate evil on the world. They are doing so because that's who they truly are inside, and should we not spend our lives living as we truly are - honestly and authentically?

It's the lack of understanding - and even the willingness to try and understand - what these individuals are going through as they transition that can really cause them to struggle with a great many mental health conditions as well. Those that identify as trans are simply people, just like you and I, and while their gender identity may not be one you necessarily agree with, it is a part of them, no different than their eye color or how tall they are.

All that Gavin Grimm wants is the right to go pee in the place that most closely aligns with his gender identity. That's it. He has become a trans activist in the process, albeit unintentionally, but he's fighting for something that shouldn't even be a question in the first place. It's something that unfortunately, a whole host of trans individuals have had to fight for for years, and unless something changes, they will have to continue that fight.

When did the right to go to the bathroom in the washroom that corresponds with your gender identity become so contentious? Furthermore - what right does anyone have to say you must use this particular washroom and no other washroom?

I #standwithGavin. What about you?

Gavin Grimm


Gavin Grimm Talks To Katie Couric


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