Education Department says anti-trans discrimination prohibited by Title IX

The Education Department said Wednesday that discrimination against transgender students is prohibited under Title IX.

The Department’s Office of Civil Rights issued a notice of interpretation saying that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

The agency said it will investigate allegations of discrimination, but that its interpretation of Title IX does not on its own determine the outcome in any particular case.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told The New York Times in an interview published ahead of the announcement that his department wants to “double down on our expectations” about transgender protections.

“Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity,” Cardona said, adding that the announcement isn’t changing the process of reporting or investigating specific cases of discrimination.

The decision is a stark change from the Trump administration’s position on Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions that receive federal funding.

In the last days of the former administration, the Education Department released a memo affirming that educational programs and activities can be restricted based on “biological sex.”

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order aimed at preventing discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Days later, he lifted former President Trump’s ban on most transgender people serving in the military.

Since then, several government departments have reaffirmed their support for transgender rights.

The Department of Justice told federal agencies in April that transgender students are protected from federal discrimination under Title IX.

In May, the Department of Health and Human Services said it will enforce bans on sex discrimination applying to sexual orientation and gender identity in health care, rolling back Trump-era limits.

And the Department of Housing and Urban Development withdrew a Trump-era proposed rule that would have weakened a policy ensuring LGBTQ individuals had access to homeless shelters.

The latest move comes as multiple GOP-led states pass or consider legislation seeking to limit transgender rights. Dozens of states have advanced such bills this year alone, according to Freedom for All Americans.

Updated at 1:30 p.m.

Tags anti-transgender Donald Trump Joe Biden LGBTQ rights Miguel Cardona Title IX Transgender inequality transgender rights
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