A Top Court Resoundingly Affirms Trans Rights in Gavin Grimm’s Battle for Equality

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After a yearslong fight for equal protection in a bathroom access battle that’s made Gavin Grimm a trans hero, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that it’s a violation of Title IX to bar students from bathrooms that match their gender identities. Grimm made national news in 2015 when his Virginia high school refused to let him use the boys’ room. Now 20, he celebrated the “incredible affirmation” not just for him “but for trans youth around the country.”

In a tweet yesterday, he shouted out the relentless solidarity that sustained him: “Thank you to everyone at the @ACLU for inviting me in like family and fighting like hell to make sure justice was served.”

“Fighting like hell” will be familiar if who’ve heard our namesake’s best-known quote, “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living”—and it could use an extra beat: Fight like hell for the living, and mark victories when you score them. The fight doesn’t end, but wins dot its path. The trajectory is best seen by revisiting my colleague Samantha Michaels’ powerful 2017 profile of Grimm and enduring look at one of his attorneys.

The victory, just as schools start up, is perfectly timed for students looking for signs of progress as a counterweight to the self-absolution and snarling discrimination of the revisionists onstage at the RNC this week. The headlines are stacked; they’ll keep elevating chilling reminders of the steep climb ahead. But a major win is a major win. Congrats to Grimm. Share thoughts at recharge@motherjones.com.

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