On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education released a notice saying that Title IX’s protections against sex discrimination also forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
This interpretation of the 1972 Title IX law, which prohibits sex discrimination in “any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” will protect gay and transgender students from being discriminated against in schools.
The decision to extend Title IX protections to LGBTQ+ students was prompted by last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County. In this case, the Supreme Court decided that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is also inherently discrimination on the basis of sex.
Miguel Cordona, the U.S. Secretary of Education, said, “The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections. I’m proud to have directed the Office of Civil Rights to enforce Title IX to protect against all students from all forms of sex discrimination. Today, the Department makes clear that all students—including LGBTQ+ students—deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination.”
This comes at a time when numerous states legislatures are creating anti-trans youth legislation. Thirty-one states have already introduced bills aimed at banning transgender student athletes from playing in sports that are consistent with their correct gender identities.
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, the deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement regarding the Title IX notice, “Across the country, politicians have targeted transgender youth for discrimination at school. Now those same kids know that the Biden administration and the US Department of Education see them for who they really are and will defend their right to fully participate in school.”
Sources: U.S. Department of Education 6/16/21; The New York Times 6/17/21; CNN 4/15/21; CNN 6/16/21