Federal appeals court refuses to revisit Virginia transgender bathroom ruling

By Doug G. Ware

RICHMOND, Va., May 31 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court in Virginia refused Tuesday to revisit its ruling last month that schools must allow transgender students to use whichever restroom they feel most comfortable with, in a step many believe will precede the issue going to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond declined to rehear the controversial case, which means its April ruling will stand for now.


The U.S. Department of Justice cited the court's ruling in its lawsuit against the state of North Carolina, which passed a law last month stating that transgender state workers and public university students must use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth, not the one they identify with.

The Justice Department responded by bringing the suit and issuing a directive for states to allow transgender students restroom freedom.

The Virginia case was brought by a teen who was born female but identifies as male. A school board in Gloucester asked the full court to reconsider the decision in rehearing the case -- a request the panel refused Tuesday without comment.


A dissenting judge, though, Paul Niemeyer, did address the school board's request.

"Bodily privacy is historically one of the most basic elements of human dignity and individual freedom. And forcing a person of one biological sex to be exposed to persons of the opposite biological sex profoundly offends this dignity and freedom," he wrote. "Somehow, all of this is lost in the current administration's service of the politically correct acceptance of gender identification as the meaning of 'sex.'"

The school board could now ask the Supreme Court to hear the case.

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