Liberal Judge Compares Transgender Teen to Martin Luther King Jr.

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A teen who sued a Virginia school board for the right to use the boys’ bathroom was compared on Friday to civil rights activists by appeals court Judge Andre M. Davis. According to Davis, 17-year-old Gavin Grimm is as much a champion as the Virginia couple that fought to legalize interracial marriage as well as others who, in the same way, “refused to accept quietly the injustices that were perpetrated against them.”

In an opinion joined by fellow 4th Circuit Court Judge Henry Floyd, Davis later compared Grimm — who is biologically female but has chosen to identify as male — to Martin Luther King Jr. through referencing a quote from the great civil rights leader: “Today, G.G. adds his name to the list of plaintiffs whose struggle for justice has been delayed and rebuffed; as Dr. King has reminded us, however, ‘the arc of the moral universal is long but it bends toward justice.’ G.G.’s journey is delayed, but not finished.” Judges Davis and Floyd were both appointees of President Barack Obama.

The case was originally brought to Richmond’s 4th Circuit after Grimm was allowed to use the school’s boys’ bathroom for several weeks and then was later told to use either the girls’ bathroom or a private, single-stall unisex bathroom after parents from the school expressed privacy concerns.

The case was denied by the Supreme Court after President Trump revoked the Obama administration’s guidance on public facilities access and gender identity, which left students free to use the bathroom and locker room of their choice. The 4th Circuit Court’s decision on Friday denied Grimm the right to use the boys’ bathroom while the case continues. Grimm graduates this spring.


Diana Valentine

Diana Valentine works for the American Principles Project.