Human Rights Campaign Celebrates 50 Year Anniversary of Title IX, Recognizes Unfinished Work of Gender Equality in Education

by Aryn Fields

50 years after Title IX became law, while important progress has been made, gender equality in education is under renewed assault

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — recognized the 50-year anniversary of Title IX.

HRC Interim President Joni Madison said in a statement:

Title IX has had a transformative impact on our nation -- and on me personally. Thanks to Title IX, I was able to find community, build self-confidence and become a better leader by playing sports; thanks to Title IX, I was able to get a real education in science and mathematics. Title IX gave me and so many women and LGBTQ+ people a better, brighter future.

But while the power of Title IX is undeniable, its full promise has yet to be delivered. While LGBTQ+ students, particularly trans and non-binary students, face state sanctioned discrimination that censors their identities, limits their opportunities and pushes them to the sidelines; while vulnerable young people, including LGBTQ+ people, experience sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus; while Black and Brown girls and LGBTQ+ kids are disproportionately punished because of who they are, we remain nowhere near where we need to be as a nation. Every student deserves every opportunity to learn – from the classroom to the sports field. We call on leaders at every level to help stop these attacks on trans and non-binary youth -- and to help make the next 50 years that much more just and equitable for all our kids.”

Joni Madison, Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign

In the last three years, anti-LGBTQ+ groups and politicians have singled out transgender kids to deny them access to gender-affirming medical treatment, deny them access to bathrooms, and prevent them from playing on teams consistent with their gender identity. 2020 set a record number for anti-transgender bills filed with 79 bills, largely focused on attacking transgender youth; 2021 surpassed that record with 147 such bills filed in 34 states. 2022 is on track to surpass that record yet again. For transgender youth – who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence – to bear the weight of these attacks year after year, this legislation takes a toll. Politicians are culpable for the harms they inflict by continuing to consider bills that target transgender youth.

Many of the anti-LGBTQ+ bills specifically target the ability of trans and non-binary youth to play sports with their peers. Participating in school sports has long-lasting emotional, social and health benefits for young people. In addition to physical health benefits, sport can also instill life skills including accountability, leadership and dedication.

Earlier this year, HRC issued a new analysis showing how women’s sports continue to be chronically underfunded.

Earlier this spring, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a letter to all state attorneys general reminding them of federal constitutional and statutory provisions that protect transgender youth against discrimination, including when those youth seek gender-affirming care.

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