DOE Confirms Title IX Protections for Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

DOE Confirms Title IX Protections for Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the Department of Education (DOE) confirmed Title IX protects students from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The DOE explains in its Notice of Interpretation that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination basis of sex to include:

  • Discrimination based on sexual orientation. 
  • Discrimination based on gender identity. 

According to the DOE’s Press Release, this confirmation stems from the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Bostock v. Clayton County where the Court recognized that it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex.

Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary of Education, said “The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections. I'm proud to have directed the Office for Civil Rights to enforce Title IX to protect all students from all forms of sex discrimination. Today, the Department makes clear that all students—including LGBTQ+ students—deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination.”

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What You Need to Know

Here’s what you need to know:

  • OCR will fully enforce Title IX to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in education programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department. 
  • Where a complaint meets applicable requirements and standards as just described, OCR will open an investigation of allegations that an individual has been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in education programs or activities.
  • This interpretation supersedes and replaces any prior inconsistent statements made by the DOE regarding the scope of Title IX’s jurisdiction over discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 
  • This interpretation does not reinstate any previously rescinded guidance documents. 

 

Information sourced from the DOE’s Notice of Notice of Interpretation.

 

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