- Views & Opinions
The U.S. Department of Education on April 29 issued guidance clarifying that federal Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, welcomed the guidance issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which says “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such complaints for investigation.”
“Every student has a fundamental right to go to school in a safe learning environment that respects who they are as a person,” said HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow in a news release. “We thank the Department of Education for doing the right thing and standing with transgender and gender non-conforming students who deserve nothing less than a safe learning environment free of discrimination.”
About 78 percent of transgender children in grades K-12 reported being harassed in school, 35 percent physically assaulted and 12 percent sexually assaulted, according to a 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
An HRC Foundation survey of more than 10,000 LGBT youth found that more than four in 10 gender-expansive youth report “frequently” or “often” being called names involving anti-gay slurs and 40 percent report being excluded by peers “frequently” or “often.”
And more than half of gender-expansive youth reported “never participating” in the majority of activities listed in the survey (e.g., sports, church/religious youth groups and service organizations) out of fear of discrimination.
“This guidance is crystal clear and leaves no room for uncertainty on the part of schools regarding their legal obligation to protect transgender students from discrimination,” said Ian Thompson, ACLU legislative representative. “The Office for Civil Rights must now take the next step and issue comprehensive guidance on Title IX and transgender students.”