Attorney General Balderas Continues Fight Against Transgender Discrimination in Schools

For Immediate Release:
November 26, 2019
Contact: Matt Baca — (505) 270-7148

Albuquerque, NM—Attorney General Balderas joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general
fighting to support transgender rights in an antidiscrimination lawsuit against the
Gloucester County School Board in Virginia. Gavin Grimm, a former student at
Gloucester High School, sued the local school board in 2015 — when he was still a
student — for discrimination that banned him from using the common male restrooms at
his high school. The coalition filed an amicus brief in the Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit in support of Grimm in the case of Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School
Board.
“My office will aggressively enforce the rule of law to protect the health, safety and
welfare of all New Mexicans,” Balderas said. “No government entities, including schools,
should discriminate against any individual based on gender identity.”
Grimm not only sued to challenge the Gloucester County School Board’s policy of
banning him from using the common male restrooms at his high school, but also the
board’s refusal to update his educational records to correspond with his updated birth
certificate that reflects his male gender. The federal district court in Virginia ruled in
Grimm’s favor in August 2019, finding that the school board’s actions discriminated
against Grimm on the basis of his sex in violation of Title IX and the Equal Protection
Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The coalition of attorneys general argue, first and foremost, that transgender individuals
have the right “to live with dignity, be free from discrimination, and have equal access to
education, employment, housing, public accommodations, and other necessities of life.”
They go on to argue that policies that prevent transgender individuals from using
gender-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity cause stigma, isolation,
and exclusion. Additionally, the brief highlights how policies that allow students and
members of the public to use gender-segregated facilities consistent with their gender
identity promote safe and inclusive communities, workplaces, and schools, and benefit
the people of the states without harming personal privacy or safety interests, or without
incurring any substantial costs.
Finally, the brief highlights that the school board’s restroom policy preventing
transgender people from using common restrooms consistent with their gender identity
and its refusal to update Grimm’s school records do nothing to further legitimate
governmental interests and only serve to stigmatize transgender persons in violation of
the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
Nearly 1.5 million people in the United States — including approximately 150,000
teenagers — currently identify as transgender.
In March 2017, the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General joined a coalition of
attorneys general in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting
Grimm, before the Court remanded the case for further proceedings in which Grimm
prevailed.
Attorney General Balderas joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia in filing the
brief.

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