Enrichment Education

Education Department to declare Title IX protections include trans students

title IX gender discrimination transgender protections LGBTQ+ students sex identity trump biden cardona department of education
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during a roundtable discussion at Mercy College on June 14, 2021 in the Pelham Bay neighborhood of the Bronx borough in New York City.  Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • DOE Secretary Cardona confirmed the agency plans to extend Title IX protections to transgender students.
  • This would protect transgender students from discrimination based on gender identity.
  • A recent Supreme Court ruling opened the law up to broader interpretation.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) will begin to extend its Title IX protections to transgender students, a decision that will support transgender-identifying individuals from discrimination based on their gender. 

DOE Secretary Miguel A. Cardona confirmed the news in an interview to The New York Times. Per the Title IX law, sex-based discrimination against transgender students is prohibited in federally funded institutions.

“We just want to double down on our expectations,” Cardona said. “Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.”


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The battle over how far Title IX’s protections extend to transgender students has been hotly contested over the past years. The Trump administration opposed granting transgender students protections under the law, and threatened to withold federal aid from schools which opposed this decision.

This coincided with the debate over whether or not transgender students could participate on sports teams that matched their gender identity. Schools that allowed transgender athletes to do so risked losing federal funding.

While the Biden administration has rolled back multiple Trump-era rules and policies, Cardona clarified that this decision to extend Title IX protections doesn’t overhaul the process of reporting discriminatory instances. And it is unclear how far the ruling will go in terms of addressing new state laws that restrict transgender rights. 

“The reality is each case has to be investigated individually,” he continued. Cardona also encouraged schools to be proactive rather than wait for complaints to occur. 

The DOE’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) states that it enforces civil rights that protects all LGBTQ+ students from discrimination and harrassment. It also notes, however, that per the landmark Supreme Court case, Bostock v. Clayton County, it is unclear how Title IX applies to LGBTQ+ students. 


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