This Mother Of A Transgender Child Wants To Show Gavin Grimm He Is Not Alone
Ever since Donald Trump revoked Barack Obama's executive order protections for transgender students in public schools who want to use the bathroom of their choice, there's been increasing attention to — and concern over — the future of trans rights in America. The spotlight on what's shaping up to be a landmark Supreme Court case for trans students' rights is brighter now. Now, the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen in Virginia, against Gloucester County School Board could reverberate throughout the country and the LGBT movement.
Grimm sued his school district for access to the boys' bathroom after the school adopted a policy in 2014 to block him from it. After the district sided with the school but the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board made its way to the Supreme Court. As Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed noted, the big question that the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Grimm, wants the court to answer: "Does Title IX require schools to respect students’ gender identity?"
Throughout his journey to bring this issue to court, many in the LGBTQ community have been rallying behind Grimm's case. Some have been celebrities, like Orange is the New Black star and trans rights activist Laverne Cox, who mentioned Grimm at the Grammys this year.
However, there have also been ordinary trans children and their parents who have supporting Grimm and are watching his case with bated breath and wondering what it will mean for their families. Bustle spoke to Vanessa Ford, whose daughter, Ellie, is five years old and transgender. Ellie and the Ford family were also featured in the documentary Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric alongside Grimm, about how they are mobilizing rather than lamenting.
In an email interview with Bustle, Ford spoke about the experience of standing beside Grimm at a protest at the White House after Trump revoked Obama's guidelines and taking comfort in the young activists fighting.
"No 17-year-old should have to go through what he's going through. No mother should have to prepare her 17-year-old to stand in his position,"
"We were lucky enough to literally stand with Gavin at the rally in front of the White House. He held my hand when I started to cry. He hugged me," Ford said. "Our world is so lucky to have such a fierce warrior for love and humanity in such a young person. We will always stand with Gavin and all children like him."
Ford said she felt empathy not only for Grimm but his mother. "No 17-year-old should have to go through what he's going through. No mother should have to prepare her 17-year-old to stand in his position," she said. "But they are not alone and this project will show that."
One of the ways the Ford family has stood with Grimm during his fight for trans rights was by creating a video campaign called "I Stand With Gavin," which corresponds with the hashtag #IStandWithGavin.
"Our family was in the Gender Revolution documentary with the Grimm family, and we have grown close during that time," Ford said. "After the documentary came out, we wanted to find a way to elevate the voices of others. This is where the #StandWithGavin project came from."
The Ford family has been collecting videos and photos from families all across the country. They hope to compile in a single video "to present to Gavin and his mother and share widely, so the world knows (and Gavin and his family know) that they are not alone," Ford said.