GLOUCESTER, Va. (AP) — Amid the cornfields and marinas dotting this conservative tidewater Virginia enclave between the York River and Mobjack Bay, people are divided over what one local pastor calls “the civil rights issue of this generation” – how to deal with a transgender student’s demand to use the boys’ restrooms at the local high school.
“If they’re not fixed like a man, they should not use the men’s bathroom,” Gary Pilkinton, a 56-year-old movie special effects worker, told a reporter recently outside the local Wal-Mart.
Another shopper, Cheryl Walker, took the opposite view.
“I don’t care what bathroom he uses,” the 71-year-old retiree said. “Just don’t go potty on the hallway floor.”
Gavin Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, sued school officials over a policy requiring him to use either the girls’ restrooms or a single-stall, unisex bathroom open to all students. The 16-year-old Gloucester High School junior claims it’s stigmatizing and discriminatory. Some classmates and their parents argue that his presence in boys’ bathrooms would be disruptive and a violation of privacy.