The U.S. Department of Education announced a proposed change to Title IX on Thursday which would prohibit sex-based discrimination in public schools.
The proposal would restrict schools from broadly banning transgender athletes and would allow them to join sports teams that align with their gender identity, not just their sex assigned at birth.
The department said the proposed changes would, however, still give schools some flexibility to ban transgender athletes depending on age and sport.
“Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination,” stated U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Being on a sports team is an important part of the school experience for students of all ages.”
The ACLU says that in the past three years, at least 19 states have passed legislation which broadly bans transgender athletes from playing on sports teams that don’t match their sex assigned at birth.
The announcement Thursday came on the same day West Virginia battled over a law banning transgender students from playing on female sports teams, and it comes just a day after the Kansas legislature overrode their governor’s veto and passed a similar ban of its own.
Many LGBTQ+ organizations responded to the news and praised the proposed changes.
“This proposed rule makes it clear that the 20 state laws categorically prohibiting transgender young people from participating in school sports violate federal law,” said Kasey Suffredini, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth.
“Nobody should be denied the opportunity to be part of a team just because of who they are,” he added.
“State lawmakers take note — discriminating against transgender athletes is wrong and a violation of federal law,” said Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization.
“This moment we’re in is truly a crisis for transgender young people — and we’re calling on elected leaders at every level of government to fight harder for our kids.”
With News Wire Services