This summer has marked some significant wins for transgender students. In June of this year, both the U.S. Department of Education as well as the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions affirming the right of transgender students to be protected from discrimination based on their gender identity – under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that protects against sex-based discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. The Education Department’s announcement clarifies that “sex-based discrimination” encompasses any of the following:
- Discrimination based on biological gender assignment
- Discrimination based on sexual orientation
- Discrimination based on gender identity
These new guidelines are supported by a 2020 Supreme Court ruling – which addressed protections of gay and transgender workers. Since then, many other federal departments have issued similar guidance based on this ruling.
Case in point
One real-life example of the application of this Title IX guidance is the case of 17-year-old, Gavin Grimm. Gavin is a transgender male student in Virginia. When his high school informed him that he would not be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom because of his transgender status, he sued. The case recently made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Gavin won. The court determined that the Title IX prohibition to discriminate “on the basis of sex” included gender identity.
Students and teachers alike enjoy various rights and protections under the law. If you believe you have experienced unfair treatment in an educational setting, it may be worth discussing your case with an attorney experienced in education law.