HRC’s Weekly State Fights Report: New Title IX Rule Combats Climate of Harassment and Bullying

by Brandon Wolf

Data Updated April 19



Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration finalized a Title IX rule that clarifies the scope of nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity throughout educational activities. In practice, the rule means students can use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, can go to prom and other school dances with a same-sex date, and can create art and stories that reflect their LGBTQ+ families. It also means schools can’t intentionally misgender students, create a hostile environment where LGBTQ+ students are bullied, or retaliate against students who complain of harassment or discrimination.

The finalized rule comes as MAGA politicians nationwide have used schools as political battlefields, stripping academic freedom from LGBTQ+ students and families and inflaming bullying and harassment on campuses.

While there is still work to be done to safeguard students, including needed rulemaking to allow transgender students to participate in school sports programs, the new Title IX rule is a much needed step to push back on state legislative attacks on freedom and give young people the chance to thrive. Federal civil rights law now prohibits schools from allowing teachers to persistently misgender students; it forbids districts from preventing transgender students from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity; and schools that harass students who bring a same-sex date to prom will be doing so in violation of federal law. Schools will be subject to federal investigation for violations and will be subject to administrative penalties including potential loss of federal education funding. Many, including HRC, have argued that this has been the right legal approach for some time, but having federal regulations reflect this puts schools on notice that they will be held accountable. Simply put, the new Title IX rule is a pro-equality win, following years of advocacy by HRC and its partners, that will provide LGBTQ+ and other students the protections they deserve.


Tennessee’s legislative session is slated to end on Thursday, April 25. At the start of the year, there were already more anti-LGBTQ+ laws on the books in Tennessee than in any other state. MAGA lawmakers have already added two more to those ranks and are eyeing a handful of others as the finish line nears.

Meanwhile, restrictions on access to gender affirming care are threatening in both South Carolina and New Hampshire this week. Those are the last two states in which Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the Governor’s mansion without restrictions on care for transgender people, after Ohio and Wyoming passed bans earlier this year. If passed, South Carolina’s proposed bill would bar transgender youth from accessing gender affirming care broadly, and New Hampshire’s bill would restrict medical providers from prescribing surgical treatments for transgender youth.


Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

  • Arizona: Last Tuesday, Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed SB1628, an LGBTQ+ Erasure Act that would also greenlight discrimination against transgender people in spaces like bathrooms or locker rooms in government buildings, and require schools to gather data based on sex assigned at birth.

  • Alabama: On April 11th, HB111 passed the House. This bill defines sex based on reproductive systems and requires all state laws to treat individuals according to the sex they were assigned at birth. It heads next to the Senate for consideration.

  • Tennessee: Last Monday, SB1810 passed the House, its second chamber. This bill would force school staff to out transgender students without their consent. On Wednesday, SB2501 was transmitted to the governor for consideration following House passage on April 11th. This bill establishes deadlines for colleges and universities to investigate student and employee reports alleging that they were penalized for refusing to support so-called “divisive concepts”, specific ideologies, or political views. Under this bill, an institution that fails to investigate or take action within the timeframe would be subject to a withholding of state funds.


“The attack on the very right for trans people to exist as themselves in this country is…heartbreaking because it is a blatant attempt to give trans and nonbinary folks an ultimatum: either you conform to the right-wing idea that there’s only one right way to be a human being or we will use everything at our disposal to push you out of society.”

HRC National Press Secretary Brandon Wolf in Huffpost

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The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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