The Education Department on Wednesday extended protections under Title IX for transgender and gay students.
The extended protections reverse a Trump-era policy and contradicts recent proposals in many states to bar transgender girls from school sports. The policy is not likely to bring immediate change but federal sanctions against schools and colleges that fail to protect gay and transgender students are possible.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said gay, lesbian and transgender students “have the same rights and deserve the same protections” as workers with the new protections under Title IX.
“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,” Cardona said in a statement.
The expanded protections mean that discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity will be treated as a violation of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that protects against sex discrimination in education.
The decision is rooted in last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling protecting gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.
“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,” Cardona said in a statement.