While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has moved the nation backwards in terms of protecting trans youth, LGBTQ employees within the Justice Department plan to honor those advocating for transgender rights.
At the Justice Department's annual LGBT Pride Month Program next Wednesday, the agency's LGBTQ employee and ally group — DOJ Pride — plans to give the Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award to Gavin Grimm, BuzzFeed News reports. With help from the ACLU, the transgender Virginia teen took his school board to court when he wasn't allowed to use the boys' bathrooms at school.
"My hope is that I will secure the right to use the correct restroom — not only for myself, but for any other trans youth who ever attend the Gloucester County Public School System," Grimm told Refinery29 in 2015.
The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, but it was sent back to the appeals court after the Departments of Justice and Education rolled back the Obama administration's guidance for public schools to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.
Grimm graduated from high school this month, and wrote in a Medium post: "Our opponents can’t stop justice; they can only delay it. The law is on our side.
"Even though I’m graduating without a resolution to my case, I know we’re going to win this fight."
Every year at the DOJ's LGBT Pride Month Program, awards are given to people advocating for LGBTQ rights both in and outside the government department. According to BuzzFeed News, the James R. Douglass Award for those improving the department's LGBTQ employees' work environment will go to the teams involved in the DOJ's response to North Carolina's discriminatory law, which prohibited transgender folks from using public bathrooms matching their gender identity. (The DOJ dropped its lawsuit surrounding the state law after it was replaced.)
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke at the 2016 Pride event, which had the theme "The Struggle for Equality Continues." It's unclear if Attorney General Sessions will attend this year, but the awards highlighting people fighting for transgender rights signal that at least some of his employees stand by the LGBTQ community.