Title IX rules will soon protect the rights of transgender students, say sources inside the Department of Education.
Title IX is the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools or any educational program that uses federal funding.
“No person in the United States shall, based on sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” reads the original text, as signed by President Nixon in 1972.
In 2020, the Department of Education under then-President Trump chose to interpret Title IX as protecting the rights of cisgender women from having to allow transgender women in girls’ and women’s athletics. The ruling, which was a response to Connecticut’s 2019 decision that transgender girls could compete in girls’ high school sports, claimed that Connecticut’s policy “denied female student-athletes athletic benefits and opportunities, including advancing to the finals in events, higher-level competitions, awards, medals, recognition, and the possibility of greater visibility to colleges and other benefits.” Later the same year, the so-called “Protect Women in Sports” Act as introduced to go so far as to block schools from federal funding if they chose to allow transgender girls in girls’ teams.
The Department of Educations’ new regulation, which would carry the power of law, would make it clear that discrimination based on either sexual orientation or gender identity will legally be the same as discrimination based on sex.
What precisely will be in the proposed regulation is still unknown. The Department of Education has declined to comment, except to say that they expect to publish in April.
According to two anonymous sources within the DOE, the draft text of the regulation includes the following: “Discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”