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4th Circuit rejects rehearing in transgender bathroom case

(AP) A federal appeals court has denied a request for a full-court review of a ruling that a Virginia school board’s transgender bathroom ban is unconstitutional.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond rejected a request from the Gloucester County School Board for a rehearing to review a ruling that the board’s policy discriminated against Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who was barred from using the boys bathrooms at Gloucester High School.

The board’s policy required Grimm to use restrooms that corresponded with his sex assigned at birth — female — or to use private restrooms.

A federal judge in Norfolk ruled against the school board last year, a ruling that was upheld last month by a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit.

The school board had argued that laws protect against discrimination based on sex, not gender identity. Because Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and still had female genitalia, the board’s position was that he remained anatomically a female.

An attorney for the school board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Grimm filed his lawsuit in 2015, saying he suffered from urinary tract infections from avoiding school bathrooms as well as suicidal thoughts that led to hospitalization.

The lawsuit became a federal test case when it was supported by the administration of then-President Barack Obama. It was scheduled to go before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017, but the high court hearing was canceled after President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era directive that students can choose bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

Grimm, now 21, graduated in 2017. He lives in California and is an activist for transgender rights.

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