Biden Administration Adds Provisions to Further Protect LGBTQ+ Students From Discrimination in Schools 

PORTLAND, Maine, April 19, 2024 — Today, the Biden Administration made several updates to Title IX rules to ensure that every student can thrive at school, as was originally intended at its inception. In the 50+ years since its enactment, opponents have sought to weaken Title IX’s crucial civil rights protections, including undoing critical safeguards against sexual harassment and against the rights of LGBTQ+ students, The new provisions now unequivocally protect student survivors of sexual harassment, pregnant and parenting students, and LGBTQ+ students (especially transgender, nonbinary, and intersex students) against discrimination in school. “Title IX has reduced discrimination and harassment, and opened doors for so many girls and women, but after 50 years, this landmark law was in dire need of an update. EqualityMaine applauds the Biden Administration’s changes to these rules so all students, including LGBTQ+ students, can thrive at school. These updates are essential to hold the line against threats to our civil rights and the ability to access educational opportunity equally,” says Gia Drew, Executive Director of EqualityMaine.

Title IX guarantees the rights of LGBTQ+ students to come to school as themselves without fear of harassment or discrimination, and the Biden rule changes affirm that. This includes students’ rights to:

  • Attend school free of harassment based on their gender identity, sexual orientation, or sex characteristics. 
  • Use the bathroom in accordance with their gender identity, ensuring that transgender, nonbinary, and intersex students can use the restroom without fear of discipline, harassment, or violence. 
  • Express their gender and sexual orientation at school and school-sponsored events, such as by dressing in accordance with their gender identity and attending prom with the date of their choice. 

These clarifications to the Title IX rule couldn’t be more timely and critical as the LGBTQ+ community faces an onslaught of attacks on our rights through hostile state legislation and discriminatory school policies. This change clearly reaffirms what many federal courts have already made clear: that LGBTQ+ students are protected against discrimination. 

Title IX protects transgender and nonbinary students even without an explicit athletics rule, but more must be done to prevent the bans and restrictions on transgender sports participation taking place in half of the states across the country. EqualityMaine looks forward to provisions from the Biden Administration later this year that further ensure all students, including transgender, nonbinary, and intersex student athletes, get to play sports and learn in a safe and inclusive educational environment that honors their gender identities.

The unofficial version of the final regulations is available here. In addition, the Department of Education has released a fact sheet, a summary of the major provisions of the final regulations, and a resource for drafting Title IXnondiscrimination policies, notices of nondiscrimination, and grievance procedures.

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