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DOJ Pride — the Justice Department's group for LGBT employees and allies — plans gave its community service award to Gavin Grimm, the transgender high school student who challenged his school's bathroom policy. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded pro-transgender guidance that helped Grimm's case earlier this year, reports BuzzFeed Chris Gender.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to rescind Obama-era guidance that supported the rights of transgender students is slated to get a symbolic rebuke from his own employees next week.
On the morning of June 28, the department was to have scheduled to hold its annual LGBT Pride Month Program in the Great Hall of the main Justice Department building located on Pennsylvania Avenue, in between the Capitol and the White House.
This year, DOJ Pride — the department's group for LGBT employees and their allies — planned to present Gavin Grimm with its Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award at the department's pride month event.
Grimm is the transgender student who is challenging his school's anti-transgender bathroom policy. Grimm's case had been before the Supreme Court and would have been heard earlier this year — were it not for Sessions' decision to rescind the pro-transgender guidance. The justices had taken up the case in the fall, but sent it back to the appeals court for further consideration after Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded the guidance issued under the Obama administration — delaying Grimm's challenge past his high-school graduation date, which was June 10.
DOJ Pride is the recognized employee association for LGBT people and allies who work in the Justice Department and all of its divisions. The group votes each year on the award recipient. In 2016, the group gave the community service award to Shannon Minter, a transgender man and lawyer with the National Center for Lesbian Rights who has been involved with significant LGBT litigation over the years.
Other prior recipients are expected to include Donald Verrilli, Jr., the former solicitor general for the department who argued in support of marriage equality at the Supreme Court, and Stuart Delery, who had argued against the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act one the Justice Department stopped defending the law in court challenges. Non-lawyers have been recognized as well. In 2013, for example, the group gave the community service award to Brendon Ayanbadejo, the former Baltimore Ravens football player who became an outspoken advocate for marriage equality and LGBT rights.
Grimm was expected to attend the event, a person familiar with the plans told BuzzFeed News. Grimm's lawyer would not confirm his client's participation in the event, and attempts to reach DOJ Pride officers were unsuccessful. Justice Department spokespeople were not immediately able to provide comment about the award decision or who from Sessions' leadership team plans to be at the program.