LGBTQ people are faced with discrimination, violence, and harassment on a daily basis in schools and the community. Title IX protects LGBTQ student from discrimination and bullying in schools. “Seventy-seven percent of K-12 students who were out as transgender experienced at least one significant form of discrimination, such as being verbally harassed by peers, disciplined more harshly than cis-gender peers, or even being physically or sexually assaulted because other believe they were transgender.” Due to high levels of bullying it can cause trauma for transgender students causing them to skip classes and even drop out.
“Title IX applies to institutions that receive federal financial assistance from ED, including state and local educational agencies. These agencies include approximately 16,500 local school districts, 7,000 postsecondary institutions, as well as charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums. Also included are vocational rehabilitation agencies and education agencies of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories and possessions of the United States.”
Rights Under Title IX
Title IX states:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
This means that Title IX protects students from being discriminated against based on sex in educational institutions. Schools are legally required to monitor and respond to hostile educational environments. If there is a failure by schools to meet these requirements they are in violation of Title IX and could lose federal funding.
The U.S. Department of Education supplies schools with guidance materials including the “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL), which discusses the obligations schools have to address sexual violence on campuses. If there is sexual violence or harassment that interferes with the ability of student’s to learn or participate in extracurricular activities, the school is required to respond.
Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students
The rights of transgender students was clarified in 2016 under Title IX, which means that transgender students are protected under Title IX allowing them “equal access to educational opportunities, including access to single-sex spaces and activities consistent with their gender identity.” This means that transgender students can play on sports teams aligning with the gender they identify as or feel most comfortable with.
This law also means that schools are required to respect transgender students identity. Including, name, pronouns, access to single-sex facilities (including restrooms), and dress code. However, students are still required to follow the schools dress code for the gender they identify as.
“Title IX also protects transgender and gender nonconforming students from gender-based harassment and bullying — that is, harassment or bullying a student experiences because they do not conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.”
For more information:
- The official Title IX document can be found here.
- Know Your Title IX
- The memo from the Maine Human Rights Commission provides guidance for public schools based on the ruling of the supreme court. This is how schools in Maine are required to protect transgender kids no matter what happens at the federal level.