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Federal court rules in favor of transgender student Gavin Grimm

RICHMOND, Va. -- A federal court in Virginia has ruled in favor of transgender teen Gavin Grimm in suit against Gloucester School Board.

The U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that federal law protects transgender students from being forced to use separate restroom facilities.

The court denied the school board’s motion to dismiss the case and held that Title IX and the Constitution protect transgender students from being excluded from the common restrooms that align with their gender identity.

“I feel an incredible sense of relief. After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law,” said Grimm in a statement. “I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through.”

Grimm was born a female, but has identified as male since his freshman year in high school. According to court documents, Grimm used the boys’ restrooms at the school for approximately seven weeks without incident.

However, after some adults in the community complained, the Gloucester County School Board overruled its administrators and enacted a new policy prohibiting boys and girls “with gender identity issues” from using the same restrooms as other students. As a result, the new policy required transgender students to an “alternative appropriate private facility.”

In March of 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not hear the case of Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, sending it back to a lower court.

Grimm graduated from high school in June 2017.

Tuesday, a federal court order the school board to schedule a settlement conference with Grimm within 30 days.

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, released a statement after the ruling Tuesday.

“The district court has upheld what Gavin argued all along, that trans students deserve the same protections under Title IX as any other student and can't be stigmatized and ostracized just because of who they are.”

Over the course of the legal battle, Grimm became a symbol in the transgender community and made TIME’s List of the Most Influential People of 2017.