Human Rights Campaign Recognizes the 51st Anniversary of Title IX

by HRC Staff

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — recognizes the 51st anniversary of Title IX, a groundbreaking 1972 law passed to protect individuals from discrimination in education on the basis of their sex.

For those feeling listless under the weight of the continued fight for justice, now is not the time to lose momentum, but to sound the rally cry louder than ever. The sea change that this law created for millions of American women - including LGBTQ+ women - cannot be overstated. Title IX was and remains a groundbreaking step forward to ensure equal opportunity in education, but its legacy and its spirit are under attack.

Every single student, including transgender students, should have the opportunity to get an education, set themselves up for career success, play sports, express themselves, and exist in spaces free from harassment, violence, or exclusion. That’s the promise of Title IX. We’re committed to that fight.

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign

In the year following the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education issued two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) that affirm that Title IX protects LGBTQ+ students from discrimination in education, and further that state laws categorically banning participation of transgender athletes are violations of federal law. Despite these victories, the LGBTQ+ community is still under attack, with more than 470 anti-LGBTQ+ bills having been introduced in statehouses across the country in 2023 and nineteen states currently excluding transgender youth from playing on sports teams aligning with their gender identity. In addition, states are adopting laws that ban transgender students from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity and prohibit teachers from respecting transgender students' pronouns, as well as “Don’t Say LGBTQ” laws that create a hostile educational environment.

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A majority of Americans oppose discriminatory bills seeking to ban transgender and non-binary youth from participation in sports. A PBS/NPR/Marist poll states that 67% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans, oppose the anti-transgender sports ban legislation proliferating across 30 states. And a poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”

Advocates for women and girls in sports support trans-inclusive policies and oppose efforts to exclude transgender students from participating in sports. This includes the National Women’s Law Center, the Women’s Sports Foundation, Women Leaders in College Sports, and others — including prominent female athletes like Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe, and Cheryl Reeve. That’s because while there are real issues facing women’s sports, including a lack of resources devoted to supporting them, transgender participation in athletics is not one of them. And nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states that have enacted anti-trans sports laws.

The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups oppose sports bans. Groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ+ people, and transgender children in particular.

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