Biden administration proposes extending Title IX protections to transgender students

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Members of the UConn women’s rowing team are seen with “IX” written on their backs in Storrs, Connecticut, in 2021. The Biden administration on Thursday proposed a slate of changes to Title IX, including extending the protections of the law to transgender students. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant via AP, File)

(The Hill) – The Biden administration on Thursday announced a slate of proposed changes to Title IX, including extending the protections of the law to transgender students.

The Education Department unveiled its proposals on the 50th anniversary of the landmark law, which prevents schools that get federal funding from discriminating on the basis of sex.

Under the Biden administration’s proposals, those protections would also apply to LGBTQI+ students, requiring schools to protect them from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

“As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this landmark law, our proposed changes will allow us to continue that progress and ensure all our nation’s students — no matter where they live, who they are, or whom they love — can learn, grow, and thrive in school,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

The Biden administration’s proposal would also alter the rules around how schools handle sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations after the Trump administration sought to make them more accommodating to the individuals being accused. Critics argued the Trump-era rules would discourage survivors from coming forward to report an assault.

The proposal would no longer require live hearings in sexual misconduct cases on college campuses, and schools would be allowed to investigate and discipline students over sexual assaults that take place off campus.

The proposal did not address protections for transgender students competing in college athletics, a point of controversy and fodder for culture wars for Republican lawmakers.

The rule-making process allows 60 days for public comment on the Biden administration’s changes. The Education Department will then finalize the changes, which could take months.

“Over the last fifty years, our nation has made monumental progress in advancing equity and equality for all students, including by narrowing gender gaps in sports, expanding opportunities in science and technology fields, and protecting students from sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment and sexual violence,” President Biden said in a statement marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

“Yet there is more work to do,” he added. “As we look to the next 50 years, I am committed to protecting this progress and working to achieve full equality, inclusion, and dignity for women and girls, LGBTQI+ Americans, all students, and all Americans.”

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