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Trans Teen Gavin Grimm Slams Trump Policy at Congressional Meeting

Gavin Grimm
Gloucester County High School senior Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, speaks during a news conference in Richmond, Virginia, on March 6. Steve Helber / AP, file

Gavin Grimm's historic case may have been remanded by the Supreme Court, but the transgender teen activist is hardly disappearing from the public eye.

At a special congressional forum Thursday morning, Grimm joined other notable civil rights figures to testify about President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office and his impact on civil rights policy.

After being invited by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), Grimm slammed the Trump administration for pulling away from an Obama-era policy supporting transgender students.

In February, the Education and Justice Departments essentially revoked a guidance letter from the previous year that instructed school districts to include transgender students in Title IX protections, allowing them access to restrooms and locker rooms that aligned with their gender identity.

"The guidance had a very simple message: treat trans students with dignity and respect them for who they are," Grimm told the congressional panel on Thursday.

"The decision to withdraw the guidance sent a terrible message to some of the most vulnerable people," Grimm said. "That President Trump — the leader of our country — and his administration do not care about protecting you from discrimination."

Related: Gavin Grimm Vows to Continue Fighting for Trans Rights

The 17-year-old high school senior became the face of American transgender youth when his fight against the Gloucester, Virginia school district over sex-segregated facilities climbed all the way to the Supreme Court. But the nation's highest court decided not to hear Grimm's case just two weeks before it was set to be argued, citing the change in federal policy made by the Trump administration.

Grimm told Congress he was "so disappointed" by the policy reversal, and warned that "actions speak far louder than words, and the message sent with this action could not have been more damaging for trans youth."

The testimony was heard by a panel of mostly Democrats, with House Committee on Education and the Workforce member Bobby Scott (D-VA), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) listening to Grimm's complaints.

The forum was scheduled, according to a press release, because "minority communities have been justifiably concerned about the continuing role of the Federal government in protecting their civil rights."

Also on the panel were several Obama administration officials including Catherine Lhamon, former Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education; Roy Austin, former director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity; and Ron Davis, former director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice.

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