The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. on March 28, but in light of the current administration rescinding transgender protections signed by President Obama, the court decided not to hear the case.
The case would decide whether Gavin Grimm, a trans boy from Virginia, could use the correct bathroom at his high school.
The Supreme Court, which is still missing a member, vacated an appeals decision in favor of Grimm and sent the case back for further consideration under the guidance of the Trump administration.
In February, the president rescinded Obama-era Title IX guidance offering protections for trans students.
Grimm spoke out after the decision.
“For me, it’s about the impact it could have on trans kids who come after me,” he told MSNBC. “When you leave it up to the states to decide who gets their rights and who doesn’t, people wait a long time before they get their rights.”
This sentiment is echoed from trans activists across the country who have been disheartened by the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case.
But it comes at a high cost for real kids. 1-2 years is short in the lifespan of a lawsuit, but it is forever in life of a kid.
— Joshua Block (@JoshACLU) March 6, 2017
Joshua Block, an attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV projects, took to Twitter to explain the issue of time further.
“This case was different because of the urgency of issue for trans kids so we hoped Court would decide case now,” Block wrote in the second of six tweets, continuing, “It comes at a high cost for real [trans] kids. 1-2 years is short in the lifespan of a lawsuit, but it is forever in [the] life of a kid.”
There is a very real concern for trans kids who are unable to use the restroom of their genders and the health problems that avoiding the bathroom can cause.
According to a Williams Institute study released in 2013, 54 percent of respondents reported negative health issues from avoiding using public restrooms, such as dehydration, UTIs, kidney infection and other kidney problems.
“I had avoided using public bathrooms for so many years and would hold it when I needed to go that now my bladder is weaker,” one respondent said.
Another respondent said that, despite pre-existing kidney problems, they would still risk holding off on using the bathroom in public.
“I know it’s not good for me to hold it,” they said. “But the alternative could be worse.”
The reality is that trans children are willing to risk these health problems in order to avoid being forced to use the wrong restroom at school.
The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear this case and file it back down through the courts creates an even longer process before trans people everywhere have the legal right to use the correct restroom.
Chase Strangio, also an attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV projects, wrote an article on Medium encouraging trans youth to continue fighting.
“Change comes through the relentless fight and leadership of those most affected by our cruel and discriminatory systems,” Strangio wrote. “To the trans young people who are scared and disappointed after today’s action, know that our resolve to fight with you only grows. […] We fight for your right to exist, to be free, to be loved just as you are.”