Not only did his school district in Gloucester County, Virginia, not accept the U.S. Court of Appeals decision to allow him to use the men’s bathroom, Grimm also spent the majority of his high school years holding his bladder, and the continuation of the case means one more year of the same.
Now a senior, Grimm transitioned to male before his sophomore year. “The thought of spending another school year not being able to use the correct bathroom and having my bathroom usage in the spotlight was not my favorite idea,” Grimm, 17, tells PEOPLE.
“It was kind of breathtaking. There was this moment of, ‘Oh my god, it’s going to dominate my senior year now too.’ I’ve gone through this my entire sophomore year, my entire junior year, and now it looks like it’ll take up my entire senior year too.”
But the Gloucester High School student knows that the temporary struggle could lead to a historic change.
“There was that moment of disappointment, and then once I adjusted to the idea I realized it’s maybe not such a bad idea,” Grimm says. “I have a platform now, and I have the opportunity to do good on a larger scale than I did before.”
Grimm started his fight back in 2014, when school administrators decided seven weeks into the school year that, due to some parents’ complaints, he couldn’t use the men’s bathroom, even though they had previously given him permission.
Rather than giving in or switching schools, Grimm chose to forgo all school bathrooms on principle.
“It was important to me to stay. I don’t want to get run out by nasty people and discrimination,” he says. “For me, it’s the equivalent of giving up. For me and my principles, I am able to handle it so it’s very important for me to do.”
Instead, he took his case to the school district, and then the federal courts, which sided with Grimm on the bases of Title IX. But when the school board petitioned for a Writ of Certiorari, and the Supreme Court decided to take on his case, it put his bathroom use back on hold.
Now, Grimm’s case has the potential to impact thousands of people across the country.
“That’s really important to me because after experiencing what I’ve experienced, my largest goal in this is that no kid, or at the very least less kids, will have to go through this experience,” he says.
Grimm held back on predicting the outcome of his case, but recognizes that the election on Nov. 8 could have a huge impact.
“Given that there’s a 4-4 split potential I don’t think the outcome is easy to gage for anyone at this point,” he says. “It might be possible that the seat won’t even be filled until after my case, but definitely, if we get a Trump appointee I’ll be very disappointed.”