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Title IX Fixes To Aid Transgenders, Change Sex Assault Rules

The Biden administration finalized sweeping new rules barring schools from discriminating against transgender students and ordering significant changes for how schools adjudicate claims of sexual harassment and assault on campus. The provisions regarding gender identity are the most politically fraught, feeding an election-year culture clash with conservative states and school boards that have limited transgender rights in schools, banned discussion of gender identity in classrooms and removed books with LGBTQ+ themes. Mindful of the politics, the administration is delaying action on the contentious issue of whether transgender girls and women should be allowed to compete in women’s and girls’ sports, the Washington Post reports. The long-awaited regulation represents the administration’s interpretation of Title IX, a 1972 law that bars sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. Title IX is best known for advancing equal treatment for women in sports, but it also governs how schools handle complaints of sexual harassment and assault, a huge issue on many college campuses.

Now the Biden administration is deploying the regulation to formalize its long-standing view that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity as well as sexual orientation, a direct challenge to conservative policies. Ten states, for instance, require transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their biological sex identified at birth, says the Movement Advancement Project. Some school districts will not use the pronouns corresponding with a trans student’s gender identity. Both situations might constitute violations of Title IX under the new regulation. In addition, a school's failure to address bullying based on gender identity or sexual orientation could be a violation of federal law. “No one should face bullying or discrimination just because of who they are or who they love. Sadly, this happens all too often,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights investigates allegations of sex discrimination, and schools that fail to comply risk losing federal funding. A senior administration official said that the office could investigate cases where schools were potentially discriminating, even if they were following their own state’s law. The final regulation includes provisions barring discrimination based on pregnancy, including childbirth, abortion, and lactation.


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