Title IX protections for trans students might prove to be complicated

A Dear Colleague letter written by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division may have complex consequences, according to Harvard Law School professor Jeannie Suk.  On May 13 the Dear Colleague letter was sent to all U.S. public schools stating that under Title IX trans students must be allowed to use facilities “consistent with their gender identity.”  

The Department of Education and DoJ’s interpretation of Title IX to be inclusive of gender identity conforms to other recent Obama Administration interpretations of the statute, and schools that prohibit trans students from using the restrooms or locker rooms where they feel most comfortable will risk losing federal funding.

Writing in The New Yorker, Suk explains the federal government “has now set in motion a potential Title IX collision course between its directives on sexual violence and on bathrooms.”  Opponents of trans inclusion may argue that having girls share facilities with “students who identify as girls but are biologically female” runs afoul of sexual violence guidelines issued by the Department of Education under Title IX.

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