The U.S. Department of Education promises to address rights of transgender students in new Title IX rules

In the coming weeks, the U.S. Department of Education is expected to issue new Title IX rules.[1]  The new proposed regulations would prohibit discrimination against transgender students.  Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education, and the new proposed rules would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.[2]

The U.S. Department of Justice recently released a letter on transgender protections which stated,

The U.S. Department of Justice (the Department) is committed to ensuring that transgender youth, like all youth, are treated fairly and with dignity in accordance with federal law. This includes ensuring that such youth are not subjected to unlawful discrimination based on their gender identity, including when seeking gender-affirming care.[3]

The issue of the rights of transgender students has come to the forefront recently with the winning streak of Lia Thomas, a transgender woman who swims for the University of Pennsylvania.[4]  Ms. Thomas became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship in the 500-yard women’s freestyle in March 2022.[5]  ESPEN reported that the crowd at the NCAA was noticeably quiet when Ms. Thomas was announced as champion in the 500-yard race.[6]  Many people, even some of her teammates, disagree with her participation in swimming events.

If the new rules pass, the rules will set new precedent in the Title IX world. Stay tuned for more updates!

[1] Laura Meckler, New Title IX rules set to assert rights of transgender students, March 30, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2022/03/30/transgender-discrimination-title-ix-rule-students/.

[2] Office for Civil Rights Blog, An Update on the Rulemaking Progress for Title IX, Feb. 18, 2022, https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/blog/index.html.

[3] Letter from U.S. Dep’t of Justice Civil Rights Division to State Attorneys General (March 31, 2022), chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1489066/download.

[4] Robert Sanchez, ‘I Am Lia’: The Trans Swimmer Dividing American Tells Her Story, (March 3, 2022), https://www.si.com/college/2022/03/03/lia-thomas-penn-swimmer-transgender-woman-daily-cover.

[5] Les Carpenter, Lisa Thomas becomes first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/2022/03/17/lia-thomas-transgender-swimmer-ncaa-title/.

[6] Katie Barnes, Amid protests, Penn swimmer Lia Thomas becomes first known transgender athlete to win Division 1 national championship, March 17, 2022, https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/33529775/amid-protests-pennsylvania-swimmer-lia-thomas-becomes-first-known-transgender-athlete-win-division-national-championship.