On CNN, Gavin Grimm Explains Why “States Rights” Argument Against Trans-Inclusive Nondiscrimination Protections Hurts Students Like Him
Grimm: “Civil Rights Are Not State Issues, They're Everyone Issues. And If You Leave Civil Rights Up To The State, People Will Wait Very, Very Extended Amounts Of Time To Get Their Rights.”
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From the February 24 edition of CNN's New Day:
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ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): What is your life like? Let's talk about what sort of prompted this lawsuit and prompted everything. What was life like for you in high school with bathroom use and everything else?
GAVIN GRIMM: So for a period of seven weeks after I came out my sophomore year, I used the men's room with no issue and things were fine. It looked like I was going to have a normal high school experience where I was supported as any other student was. But, obviously, things didn't continue to go that way, and I was barred from the men's restroom and this is what ended up happening as a result.
CAMEROTA: Because, as I understand it, there was a member of the community who wasn't comfortable with you using the boy's bathroom or the men's room. And then what happened? What did you have to do?
GRIMM: So, there was a school board meeting, and I had to attend – well, I chose to attend, and they debated whether or not I was to use the men's room there, and then they ultimately decided I was not able to. And then I got in contact with the ACLU and we put things in motion.
CAMEROTA: Now as I understand it, what the school came up with was a special accommodation for you. They found a unisex bathroom somewhere in the school that you could use. Why wasn't that good enough for you?
GRIMM: An accommodation is an exclusion. I'm a boy like any of my other peers, and I should be able to use the boy's room like any of my other boy peers.
CAMEROTA: But, I mean, look -- sure, but sometimes we all make special accommodations for our own circumstances, and if there was a unisex bathroom for you, why did that feel bad to you?
GRIMM: Again, because it's an exclusion. It's saying I'm not fit to be in communal spaces with my peers. It’s saying I'm different from them, I’m not deserving of the same opportunities that my peers get. I don't pose a threat or any form of harm to people using the correct bathroom.
CAMEROTA: We've heard some of the surrogates for the Trump administration say, oh, well, wait a second, this does actually possibly expose other students to harm. It can make, say, female students vulnerable if they're in the bathroom and somehow a boy takes advantage of this and goes in. What's your response to people who are afraid of this policy?
GRIMM: I guess I would say that transgender people have been using the correct restroom for years and years and we haven't seen rashes of attacks like these. There’s no evidence to support that these arguments are valid. Transgender people are not innately dangerous or perverse. This is a line of dialogue that really needs to stop.
CAMEROTA: [White House press secretary] Sean Spicer spoke for the White House, and basically when the White House -- the Trump White House -- came out and changed the policy, they said that they basically -- for them, this is just about states’ rights. States should have to decide this.
GRIMM: Civil rights are not state issues, they're everyone issues. And if you leave civil rights up to the state, people will wait very, very extended amounts of time to get their rights.
CAMEROTA: And what about that he says there are already anti-bullying federal statutes?
GRIMM: To say that there's already anti-bullying measures in place but then to advocate for these policies that will actively harm and bully our transgender youth is just very counterintuitive.