Biden’s proposed Title XI changes will help fight Republican transgender sports bans

Miguel Cardona, Title XI, LGBTQ protections
Miguel Cardona Photo: CSPAN screenshot

The Biden Administration has proposed changes to the legal interpretation of Title IX which would help prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Conservative attorneys general have already promised to fight the proposed changes in court.

While the changes don’t explicitly prohibit policies that ban transgender people from sports teams, bathrooms, and locker rooms, progressive groups have still hailed the proposed changes as a step in the right direction. The Department of Education said it will release a separate notice of proposed rulemaking to address those issues soon.

Related: A gay college soccer player filed a Title IX complaint when a fan called him a ‘fa***t’

On Thursday, Biden’s Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced the proposals while marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the 1972 education law that prohibits sex discrimination in any federally funded schools.

The proposed changes mostly offer explicit protections for pregnant school community members and those targeted by rape or sexual harassment. They also require schools to take “prompt and effective action” to address any sex discrimination cases using ” trained, unbiased decision-makers to evaluate the evidence” while ensuring no retaliation against whistleblowing community members.

“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,” Cardona said.

In a statement, Biden said, “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.”

The proposed changes mostly undo rollbacks of Title IX rights conducted by the administration of Republican President Donald Trump. Attorneys general in 18 Republican-led states opposed the proposed changes, saying that they would  “destroy women’s sports.”

“American women and girls deserve better,” the group wrote, according to the Associated Press. “And if this Administration won’t commit to protecting women’s rights under Title IX, rest assured, we will.”

The proposed changes will now undergo a 60-day public comment period before a final draft is released. Numerous progressive groups have hailed the proposed changes, though.

Paul D. Castillo, Lambda Legal’s Senior Counsel and Students’ Rights Strategist, wrote, “This is a much-needed step in the right direction. With LGBTQI+ students, and especially transgender and nonbinary students, under attack from extremist politicians, these new rules will provide a stronger, clearer measure of recourse and better ensure that victims of unlawful discrimination can avail themselves of the longstanding protections under Title IX.”

Jennifer Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), wrote, “We celebrate and welcome the proposed regulatory updates issued today by the Department of Education making clear that Title IX protections extend to LGBTQ students…. The proposed rules issued today by the Department of Education send an important message to LGBTQ students and their families that federal law protects them.”

Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, wrote, “While the Caucus is disappointed that this proposed rule does not address trans inclusion in sports, we look forward to working with the Department of Education to ensure that trans students have the same opportunities as any other students to play on sports teams, find community, and build values likes sportsmanship and teamwork.”

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