Today, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decided that they will not hear G. G. (Gavin Grimm) v. Gloucester County School Board. Instead they decided to vacate and defer the case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals due to the guidance that the Department of Justice (DOJ under Jeff Sessions), and Education (DOE under Betsy DeVos) issued on February 22nd stating that transgender individuals are not protected under Title IX discrimination protections. Both statements posted after Trump issued the same guidance under the Executive Branch that very day.
Basically, SCOTUS wants the case to go back to the lower court to review now that new guidance has been issued.
The news is disappointing to say the least.
In 2016, President Obama (in conjunction with the DOJ and DOE), issued federal guidance that schools that receive federal money can’t discriminate against students based on the student’s transgender status. Furthermore, the guidance stated that the student’s gender identity should be treated as the student’s ‘sex’ when enforcing Title IX.
The guidance from President Obama acknowledged transgender people across the nation as a community that required protection against discrimination in education, employment, etc. He acknowledged the struggles that transgender people and their families face every day.
Through the guidance, the administration said:
I see you. You exist. Your pain and struggle is real. It is not right.
I sincerely felt like President Obama said those words to me and my family that day. In releasing his statement, the President acknowledged me: my journey, pain, and fear as a spouse of a transgender woman. It gave my wife and me so much hope.
But when Trump, the new DOJ, and the DOE withdrew their support of Title IX coverage for transgender people, the protections became debatable and, for many transgender people, the institutionalized support they relied is questioned. The protections for little children that made them feel safe and cared for at school have gone away. Schools who were ‘on board’ in compliance with Title IX no longer have to ‘accommodate’ these children and the progress families worked for was overturned. For adults employers no longer have to pretend to support openly transgender men and women. There is now no obligation to comply. There is no safety net. It is debatable.
So the fog of fear has settled back into our lives. It is low and light but it’s present. It follows us through the day: like a dull pain in my side that I can’t relieve.
Young Grimm’s lawyer released a statement today saying that the recent news of the SOTUS decision not to rule
“is a detour, not the end of the road.”
In the midst of the non-decision, I am grieving. I know that, in time, my wife will have the protections and liberties she deserves: as any human deserves. I know, one day, that we will wake up and not be scared. That time will come.
But today at noon, I found myself sobbing in the driver’s seat of my car outside my regular lunch spot. Crying because someone who is inherently good acknowledged my family: the love, the pain, the fear, and the discrimination we face. Crying because someone who is inherently bad has shunned us. He and the administration have turned their backs on us.
I feel like the realities are being ignored. According to the results of the results of The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 41% of transgender respondents reported previous attempts of suicide.
SCOTUS not hearing the case feels like another person turning their backs to reality. I want to yell:
There is an issue here. Real people are hurting, Real people are dying!
In the meantime and for always, I will stand with Gavin. For as much as I hurt today, that young man is hurting ten times more. This issue will be heard by SCOTUS. They will hear it someday and they will decide once and for all that transgender people should be covered under Title IX. I just hope it is sooner than later for everyone’s sake.
Stay strong friends.