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Gavin Grimm attends 2019 DoSomething Gala in New York City. Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a Virginia school board's transgender bathroom ban is unconstitutional — a win for transgender rights proponents, AP reports.

Context: Gavin Grimm sued Gloucester County School Board after he was told to use private restrooms or bathrooms that did not match his gender identity while at school.

  • Grimm first filed the suit in 2015. The appeals court previously backed Grimm in 2016, and the case made its way to the Supreme Court in 2017.
  • The Supreme Court hearing was canceled and the case was sent back to the lower courts after President Trump revoked an Obama-era policy that allowed students to choose bathrooms based on their gender identity.

The state of play: The panel backed a decision made last year by a federal judge in Norfolk. The judge ruled that Grimm's rights were violated under Title IX, which protects people from discrimination based on sex.

  • The appeals court wrote that the school sent Grimm "to special bathrooms that might as well have said ‘Gavin’ on the sign," AP writes.
  • Wednesday's ruling cites the Supreme Court’s landmark June decision affirming LGBTQ workplace rights.

What they're saying: “For the last five years, Gavin has been fighting for transgender students to ensure no one else deals with the discrimination he faced in high school," said Eden Heilman, legal director for the ACLU of Virginia. "The court rightfully stood with him to rule that trans students deserve to go to school with dignity, respect, and equal protection under the law."

  • “All transgender students should have what I was denied: the opportunity to be seen for who we are by our schools and our government," Grimm responded after the 2-1 decision. "Today’s decision is an incredible affirmation for not just me, but for trans youth around the country.” 

The other side: Cissie Graham Lynch, daughter of evangelical preacher Billy Graham, claimed that faith was "under attack" by Democrats as they "pressured schools to allow boys to compete in girls' sports and use girls' locker rooms," during the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night, Buzzfeed reports.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional Hispanics want Lujan Grisham at HHS

Michelle Lujan Grisham arriving on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Hispanic lawmakers are openly lobbying to have New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham be named Health and Human Services secretary, according to a letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: These members are now following the example some Black lawmakers have used for weeks: trying to convince Joe Biden his political interests will be served by rewarding certain demographic groups with Cabinet picks.

3 hours ago - World

Map: A look at world population density in 3D

This fascinating map is made by Alasdair Rae of Sheffield, England, a former professor of urban studies who is the founder of Automatic Knowledge. It shows world population density in 3D.

Details: "No land is shown on the map, only the locations where people actually live. ... The higher the spike, the more people live in an area. Where there are no spikes, there are no people (e.g. you can clearly identify ... the Sahara Desert)."