Yesterday, we filed an amicus – or “friend of the court” – brief in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a case about trans students’ rights that the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear later this month. The case was brought by the ACLU on behalf of Gavin Grimm, an incredible 17-year-old advocate and student who was excluded from the boys’ restroom at his Virginia school just because he is trans.
I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to support Gavin and other trans students, with the help of our friends at Mayer Brown, who helped us write the brief, and 21 women’s rights and reproductive justice organizations that signed on. As we argue in the brief, anti-trans discrimination is a kind of sex discrimination prohibited by the federal civil rights law Title IX. Policies like those that exclude Gavin are based on harmful sex stereotypes about who is a “real” or “good” boy or girl. And, come on, anti-trans discrimination is obviously inherently about sex.
I also think it’s really important for groups like the National Women’s Law Center and our signatories to speak up for trans people because bigots so often pretend they need to exclude trans people from sex-segregated spaces like restrooms in order to protect cisgender (or non-transgender) women and girls. Let me be clear: when it comes to restroom safety, trans people don’t pose a threat to cis women, but cis people do pose a threat to transgender people, who report being harassed and assaulted when just trying to pee. Yet schools and legislators overlook the real problem and instead invent a new one to try to justify discrimination.
In our brief, we talk about the ways such fake “women-protective” arguments have been used to advance hateful agendas throughout history. States and employers used to pretend they needed to keep women out of traditionally masculine fields for their own protection, which the Supreme Court made clear in 1991 is illegal. Legislators also used invented threats to white women to discriminate against Black people in public facilities.
By standing with Gavin and filing this brief, women’s groups make clear we won’t let schools and lawmakers use faux feminism to justify hate.