Justice

Here's The Important Reason Laverne Cox Insisted Everyone Google This Teen

February 13th 2017

By:
Almie Rose

Laverne Cox used her time as a presenter at the Grammy Awards on Sunday to shed light on an important issue by asking viewers to Google the name of a teen.

 

A photo posted by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on

"Everyone, please Google 'Gavin Grimm.' He’s going to the Supreme Court in March. Hashtag stand with Gavin," the actress and activist said before introducing Lady Gaga. 

Who is Gavin Grimm?

Grimm is a teenager in Gloucester County, Virginia, who just wanted to be able to use the high school boy's bathroom like any other student. But because Grimm is transgender, his simple request became a lot more complicated when the school board decided to step in and ban Grimm from using the boy's bathroom, according to The Washington Post.

 

A photo posted by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on

Grimm sued the Gloucester County School Board in 2015 on the basis of Title IX, which is a federal law that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity," according to The United States Department of Justice. Grimm claimed in his suit that he felt he was being unfairly discriminated against and the ACLU agreed.

With the ACLU on his side, the case is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court: "it will review the decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals," the ACLU's official website states.

Shortly after the "Orange is the New Black" star's call to action on the Grammys stage, #StandWithGavin began popping up in tweets Sunday evening. 

There's likely a reason why Cox chose to draw attention to Grimm now.

Grimm's case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court in March, but also on Friday the newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions quietly made a move which could possibly roll back transgender rights for students. In May, the Obama administration specifically cited Title IX when they ordered that public schools that receive federal funding to accommodate transgender students with the proper bathroom and locker room facilities.

Texas, in addition to other states, sued the federal government with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton calling the federal guidance on transgender student's bathroom use an "illegal federal overreach." The attempt of the Obama administration to implement these guidelines were blocked by a federal judge in Texas, and, now, it looks like Sessions is adding to the pushback. 

"On his second day in office, Sessions withdrew a request initiated by the Obama administration to limit the federal judge’s injunction to only those states that sued against the order originally," Willie Burnley Jr., wrote for ATTN: on Friday. "Additionally, Sessions filed with the opposed states to end oral arguments for the order, meaning his Department of Justice no longer intends to speak in favor of these accommodations for transgender students."

But someone who is speaking in favor of transgender students is Cox with Grimm stating he had no idea Cox would use her time at the awards show to speak about Grimm's battle, telling The Washington Post, "I was just so thrilled because I love her. She’s just a beautiful person inside and out. I was really touched and thrilled and honored that that was the first thing out of her mouth. [...] I definitely didn’t set out at the beginning wanting to or expecting to shouted on the Grammys."