Graduating with dignity, but without justice

By Gavin Grimm

Since I graduated from high school a couple of weekends ago, I’ve been taking some time to reflect on my experience over the past four years. I don’t think there’s a yearbook-worthy quote that could encapsulate my time in high school: Discrimination from my school board and members of my own community over where I use the bathroom, a major civil rights case, and an outpouring of support from the transgender community and trans allies across the world who stand with me.

Making it to graduation from Gloucester High School hasn’t been easy, since the local school board and some community members made it clear that they’d rather I not go to school and live my life in my community like any other student. There were plenty of days where I didn’t want to go to school at all, because I didn’t want to face the same discrimination all over again. But I did it. I’ve finally graduated, and I’m proud of that.

Years after my battle for equality started, one thing remains the same: I’m still barred from using the boys’ restroom in my school. I have to face that I’m not going to see justice done before I leave high school. And as I graduate, for now, the rule stands that every other trans student in Gloucester is banned from using the restroom that matches their gender identity as well. But across the country, there’s hope for trans students like me.

As my court case continues at the 4th Circuit (and might wind up back in the Supreme Court again), other cases like mine are popping up across the country. A recent decision by the 7th Circuit in Wisconsin ruled that the school district in Kenosha has to let a trans boy use the boys’ restroom in his school. The ruling said the school district’s initial refusal to let the student use the bathroom that matches his gender identity was a violation of Title IX. That’s the same argument my lawyers from the ACLU are making.

Our opponents can’t stop justice; they can only delay it. The law is on our side.

Even though I’m graduating without a resolution to my case, I know we’re going to win this fight.

I didn’t get a typical high school experience, and I can’t get those years back. But I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve received, and the people I’ve gotten to meet along the way.

On graduation day, Gloucester High School handed me the diploma that I had to work so hard for, both in and outside of school.

And I know I earned it.

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