The LGBT+ community and allies are raising funds for trans trailblazer Gavin Grimm, who is at risk of homelessness.
Grimm was involved in a seven-year-long battle that put him at the centre of the debate on trans rights in the US. In 2014, when he was just 15-years old, Grimm was banned from using the correct bathroom at school.
Grimm fought against this discrimination by Virginia’s Gloucester County School Board and eventually took his case all the way to the Supreme Court. A federal court ruled the school’s ban was discriminatory in 2019, and this ruling was upheld by an appeals court last year.
In August, the ACLU, which represented Grimm alongside the ACLU of Virginia, announced Gloucester County School Board had been ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in attorney’s fees and costs to Grimm.
But after his monumental victory, Grimm revealed on Twitter that he was “not getting any of the money that the school board is paying out”. Instead, he was receiving only $1 in “nominal damages”.
Now, Grimm is at risk of homelessness after a health crisis left him unable to work, according to a GoFundMe page.
Vanessa Ford, one of the organisers of the fundraiser, explained Gavin “experienced several seizures and was in a coma for four days” earlier this year. She wrote that he is “doing much better” now but is unable to work.
“Because of this, Gavin is now facing the unthinkable: a crisis of housing which could leave him with no place to live or means of supporting himself in the very near future,” Ford wrote. “It is for this reason that we are asking for your support to make sure that Gavin is housed and safe.”
Ford added that Grimm “needs our help now” and called on the wider community to support a “young man who has done so much for so many others and deserves the dignity and safety of housing security”.
According to the fundraiser, the funds will be used to help Grimm with housing and living expenses “for the next year”.
Ford wrote that the funds would be depositing into a trust account so that the fundraising “doesn’t endanger Gavin’s Medicaid and disability benefits”.
Grimm opened up on Twitter about the “devastating” impact his long-running legal battle and the past year has had on his mental and physical health.
“I’ve had to get real honest recently in ways that are hard even as I’ve spent the last six years turning myself inside out,” Grimm wrote.
He continued: “The truth is that I am disabled and trapped in a system that is very hard to succeed in and that is culminating in me losing my housing this year.”
Grimm shared that he has also been dealing with his beloved pet’s “continued severe illness” on top of struggles with his own physical and mental health this year.
“I was in a coma for four days,” Grimm said. “I have medical bills I don’t even know about. And I continue to live with disability.”
He also thanked anyone who donated or shared the GoFundMe page, adding “the fight goes on”.
This year has been devastating between my physical and mental health and my cats continued severe illness. I was in a coma for four days. I have medical bills I dont even know about. And I continue to live with disability. Thank you to all who donate and share. The fight goes on.
— Gavin 🎃Grimm👻 🏳️⚧️ (@GavinGrimmVA) December 27, 2021
In an interview with Metro Weekly, Grimm shared he currently doesn’t make enough money on disability to “rent an apartment almost anywhere in the entire country” even if he used his “entire check”.
He added there has been “just obstacle after obstacle” in his struggle to find suitable housing and remain safe.
“On top of that, you have to prove that you make three times the income for a rental place,” Grimm said. “You have to have a cosigner, unless you have decent credit. People in my position usually don’t.”
He told the outlet that he has been on “the housing waitlist for months”. Grimm said he also had “other accessibility challenges” that meant he needed to be within walking distance from “basic needs” so he can remain independent.
“I cannot drive because of my medical issues, and I have to live somewhere that is walking distance from basic needs so that I can actually take care of myself instead of relying basically full time on assistance from other people,” Gavin explained.
At the time of publication, the GoFundMe page for Gavin Grimm has raised just over $50,000 of its initial $60,000 goal.
Grimm said on Twitter that the fundraiser is close to “being able to put enough money into the trust for me to qualify for the apartment I am trying to rent”. He added he’s “very excited about possibly having this space”.