WASHINGTON — The U.S Department of Education on Tuesday issued guidance clarifying that Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in schools that receive federal funding, prohibits discrimination against transgender students.
According to the guidance, issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such complaints for investigation.”
Harper Jean Tobin, Policy Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, hailed the announcement as “a breakthrough for transgender students, who too often face hostility at school and refusal by school officials to accept them for who they truly are.”
“It is now clearer than ever that schools nationwide are responsible for ensuring that transgender students are respected and safe, and students can seek protection from the Department of Education and the courts if schools fail to do so,” said Tobin.
A 2012 study by GLSEN found that transgender students faced the highest levels of harassment; only 4 percent of transgender students reported that they felt safe at school.