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Education Department says Title IX protects LGBTQ students

The Education Department will interpret Title IX, a federal law that protects students from gender discrimination in federally funded schools, to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination, according to a federal notice released Wednesday.

The update is a reversal of a Trump administration policy rescinding Obama-era guidelines that ordered schools to allow transgender students to use washrooms, locker rooms and other school facilities consistent with their standards. gender identity.

The department said in a press release that its interpretation came from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which ruled that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination in employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order in the early days of his presidency directing all federal agencies to implement the Bostock decision and update their enforcement of gender discrimination protections accordingly.

In Bostock’s Majority Opinion 6-3, Judge Neil Gorsuch, appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is discrimination based on sex.

“The Supreme Court upheld the right of 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,” said the US secretary to the ‘Education Miguel Cardona in a press release. . “I am proud to have asked the Office for Civil Rights to apply Title IX to protect all students from all forms of gender discrimination. Today, the Department makes it clear that all students, including LGBTQ + students, deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools free from discrimination. “

The directive will allow the Department of Education to pursue Title IX complaints from LGBTQ students – reversing the Trump administration’s 2018 announcement that it would not investigate civil rights complaints from banned trans students from ” use school facilities that match their gender identity.

The policy could also affect states that have passed laws prohibiting trans student athletes from competing on school sports teams that match their gender. Nine states have adopted such measures, including eight in 2021.

After the department announced the policy, Cardona tweeted a video of an interview he did with ESPN on bans on trans athletes.

“Transgender athletes are first and foremost students, and they deserve all the rights that all other students have,” including access to extracurricular activities such as sports, he said.

Sponsors of the trans athlete bans have said that trans girls have a competitive advantage over cisgender girls, but have been unable to cite clear scientific evidence to show this to be true or examples where Trans girls participating in women’s sports have caused problems.

Cardona said he recognized that there was “a lot of concern” around the issue of fairness, “but what is not tolerable is that some students cannot participate in because of their sex “.

He added that he believed states were in control of their own laws, “but we have a responsibility to protect the civil rights of students, and if we believe that civil rights are being violated, we will act.”

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