Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance that instructs public elementary and secondary schools that transgender students may enroll single-sex classes and activities based on their gender identity.

This clarifying information builds on April 2014 guidance that informed public schools that Title IX – the federal law that protects students against sex discrimination – protects students against discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. 

According to the Department of Education, although single-sex classes should only be used sparingly in order to achieve an “important objective,” when they are used, public schools (including traditional, charter, and magnet schools) and a few private coeducational schools that receive federal funding must “treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes.”

This guidance is a positive step and continues the strong leadership that the Department of Education has taken to ensure equal respect and treatment for all LGBT students.

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