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April 29, 2014

Category: Federal Advocacy, Transgender, Youth & Campus

U.S. Dept. of Education: Transgender Students Protected Under Title IX

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S Department of Education issued guidance clarifying that federal Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, welcomes the guidance issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which says "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."

“Every student has a fundamental right to go to school in a safe learning environment that respects who they are as a person" said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “We thank the Department of Education for doing the right thing and standing with transgender and gender non-conforming students who deserve nothing less than a safe learning environment free of discrimination.”

The need for protections for transgender students is clear.  Seventy-eight percent of transgender children in grades K-12 reported being harassed in school, 35 percent physically assaulted, and 12 percent sexually assaulted, according to a 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.  According to “Growing Up LGBT in America,” HRC Foundation’s groundbreaking survey of more than 10,000 LGBT youth (www.hrc.org/youth), more than four in 10 (42 percent) gender-expansive youth report “frequently” or “often” being called names involving anti-gay slurs and 40 percent report being excluded by peers “frequently” or “often;” and more than half of gender-expansive youth reported “never participating” in the majority of activities listed in the survey (e.g., sports, church/religious youth groups and service organizations) out of fear of discrimination. 

The Human Rights Campaign has long urged the Department of Education to make clear that transgender and gender non-conforming students are protected under Title IX.  This clarification from the Department of Education will greatly increase the potential for transgender and gender non-conforming students of all ages to be safe at school, to stay in school, and to succeed academically.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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