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US Department of Education Says Title IX Protects Transgender Kids from Discrimination

Two non-binary students looking at eachother in a school hallway

The US Department of Education today announced that it will interpret Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

“This is a day that transgender kids and their families have been waiting for,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “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. This is a huge day for trans youth and the people who love them.”

The department said that it is basing its interpretation on the US Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Condado de Clayton, which recognized that it “is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex.”

“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 for Civil Rights to enforce Title IX to protect all students from all forms of sex discrimination,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a press statement today. “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.”

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance. The Bostock decision was issued last year.

The move by the Department of Education reverses the stance of the Trump administration, which was openly hostile to LGBTQ Americans.

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