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Biden proposes broad expansion of Title IX, including new protections for LGBTQ students

The Biden administration has proposed expansive new rules to Title IX, the landmark law that protects students, faculty and staff against sex-based discrimination in any school or education program receiving federal aid. Title IX was signed into law 50 years ago Thursday.

The proposed rules would protect LGBTQ students and others against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. This would mark the first time these groups, including trans students, would be formally protected under Title IX rules. The broad expansion comes amidst an effort by conservative groups to ban LGBTQ content from school libraries and lesson plans and to bar trans students from playing sports or using the bathroom of their gender identity.

“Our goal was to give full effect to the law’s reach and to deliver on its promise to prevent all students from sex-based harassment,” said Miguel Cardona, education secretary. “Our proposed changes would fully protect students from all forms of sex discrimination, instead of limiting some protections to sexual harassment alone, and make those protections include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The proposal rolls back Trump administration rules for investigations of sexual assault and discrimination, such as the requirement that schools hold courtroom-like live hearings that allowed for cross-examination. The proposed rules give schools leverage in determining what is a “fair and reliable process.”

Here is an outline of the administration’s the new regulations:

  • Clearly protect students and employees from all forms of sex discrimination.
  • Provide full protection from sex-based harassment.
  • Protect the right of parents and guardians to support their elementary and secondary school children.
  • Require schools to take prompt and effective action to end any sex discrimination in their education programs or activities — and to prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects.
  • Protect students and employees who are pregnant or have pregnancy-related conditions.
  • Require schools to respond promptly to all complaints of sex discrimination with a fair and reliable process that includes trained, unbiased decisionmakers to evaluate the evidence.
  • Require schools to provide supportive measures to students and employees affected by conduct that may constitute sex discrimination, including students who have brought complaints or been accused of sex-based harassment.
  • Protect LGBTQI+ students from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.
  • Clarify and confirm protection from retaliation for students, employees and others who exercise their Title IX rights.
  • Improve the adaptability of the regulations’ grievance procedure requirements so that all recipients can implement Title IX’s promise of nondiscrimination fully and fairly in their educational environments.
  • Ensure that schools share their nondiscrimination policies with all students, employees and other participants in their education programs or activities.