The Biden administration has proposed an expansion of Title IX protections against sex discrimination as part of a broader effort to reinstate Title IX regulations removed under former President Donald Trump’s administration.
The proposal would increase protections for victims of sex discrimination and change language to include sexual orientation and gender identity. It will include protections for transgender students against sex discrimination and would be first time federal law has explicitly protected transgender students.
According to the proposal, “preventing someone from participating in school programs and activities consistent with their gender identity would cause harm in violation of Title IX.”
The proposed changes were announced by the Department of Education on Thursday, the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
“Over the last 50 years, our nation has made monumental progress in advancing equity and equality for all students, including by narrowing gender gaps in sports, expanding opportunities in science and technology fields, and protecting students from sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment and sexual violence,” President Joe Biden said in a White House statement.
Title IX applies to all public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges and universities that receive federal funding.
The proposed changes include:
- Clarifying text to protect LGBTQ+ and transgender students from discrimination.
- Language expanding protections from discrimination based on pregnancy and sex stereotypes. Schools would be required to provide reasonable accommodation for pregnant students and reasonable break time for pregnant employees.
- Provide parents, guardians and a student’s legal representatives greater protections to act on a student behalf.
Additionally, the Department of Education said it plans to issue a separate proposal to address student eligibility to participate on a particular male or female athletics team.
Some Trump-era changes would also be reversed through the proposal. Under the Trump administration version of Title IX — which is the current version — some forms of sex-based harassment are not consider to be Title IX violations.
Under the proposal, sex-based harassment will included “unwelcome sex-based conduct that creates a hostile environment by denying or limiting a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from a school’s education program or activity.”
The current Title IX only requires schools to investigate formal sexual harassment complaints while the Biden administration’s proposal would require schools to investigate all complaints.
The change will undergo a public comment period before being finalized.