Dept. Of Justice Defies W.H. – Hosts Event Honoring Teen Rejected By Trump


It’s Pride Month, and even though the Trump Administration has broken with tradition and not made any sort of acknowledgment of the occasion, a group within the Department of Justice has.

On Wednesday morning, DOJ Pride, a group for LGBT employees of the Department of Justice and their allies, hosted their annual LGBT Pride Month Program. At this year’s program, the group presented transgender teenager Gavin Grimm with the Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award. Grimm is the teenager who decided not to take discrimination lightly and sued his school district for the right to use the school bathroom corresponding with his gender.

Besides the presentation of an award to Grimm, DOJ Pride also presented the James R. Douglass Award to the lawyers behind the high profile federal government challenge to the state of North Carolina’s law confining transgender people to the bathroom corresponding with their biological sex. The award, which, according to Buzzfeed, recognizes “contributions to the work-life environment for LGBT employees of the department,” was also presented to the lawyers behind a federal government discrimination case against Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Grimm’s case against his school district was set to be heard by the Supreme Court earlier this year, but that was before the Trump Administration rescinded an Obama-era directive for the nation’s schools to allow students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender. The Trump Administration and its allies have claimed that they intend to follow a supposedly more reasoned program of protection of LGBT students than that laid out by the Obama-era directive in question.

What’s clear, however, is that the Trump Administration intends to elevate the concerns of anti-LGBT religious minorities and treat them on the same level as concerns of basic human rights on the part of LGBT people. That’s their “grand plan.”

Grimm, speaking at the Wednesday ceremony, said that the significance of the award in the present political and social climate “isn’t lost” on him.

He said:

‘Given that today’s administration is largely hostile to LGBT people and especially dangerous to LGBT youth, the gravity of receiving an award from DOJ itself, specifically the Pride alliance within it, is not lost on me at all. There are good people in the DOJ, they’ve always been here, and always will be here, no matter what kind of administration comes above them.’

The significance of the award certainly isn’t lost on the rest of us either, and he’s somewhat of a folk hero for many, and rightfully so.

One notable question is whether or not the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice would have challenged North Carolina’s discriminatory bathroom law had it first been enacted under the current president.

Yes, Attorney General Sessions has said that his department will “protect the rights of all transgender persons” and not “allow persons in this country to be discriminated against or attacked in any way because of their sexual orientation.”

However, especially in light of Trump’s “religious freedom”directive from earlier this year, the answer to the question of whether or not the Trump Admin would have launched an attack on North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law is likely no.

Featured Image via Mike Pont/WireImage/ Getty Images