Should Title IX include gender identity and sexual orientation?
- On June 23, 1972, Congress enacted the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibiting federally funded educational institutions from discriminating against students or employees based on sex. The amendment, signed into law under President Richard Nixon, begins, '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.'
- Title IX transformed women's sports in that it requires 'any school that receives any federal money from the elementary to university level' to 'provide fair and equal treatment of the sexes in all areas, including athletics.'
- On June 16, 2021, Biden's Department of Education announced it will 'enforce Title IX's prohibition on discrimination based on sex to include: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination based on gender identity.'
- The American College of Pediatrics released a statement in 2021 asserting that 'gender' and 'sex' are not synonymous, saying 'gender identity, resting largely upon a psychological comfort or discomfort with one's biological sex, is neither innate nor immutable and does not in any way determine biological sex.'
- As of February 24, 2021, a Gallup report estimates 5.6% of adults in the United States identify as LGBTQ.
Under the 14th amendment of the US constitution as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1972, Title IX now affirms the protection of all US citizens to have their rights protected and free from discrimination or harassment no matter how they are or identify. This provision states that no school or government-funded agency can retaliate against someone who makes a complaint of harassment based on sex. This law now also applies to gender identity and sexual orientation, as both have been determined to fall under the broader definition of ‘sex.’
The US Department of Education confirmed this in 2021 following the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County. Their decision, in that case, stated that “it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex.” This asserts that these things are indeed one and the same.
At the heart of the Civil Rights Act was an intent not just to protect women in this country but to bring the freedoms and protection brought by our founding documents to all people within its borders. A recent survey found that 75% of LGBTQ+ youth had experienced “discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.” Likewise, about 42% of LGBTQ+ youth have contemplated suicide in the past year, as they face discrimination, bullying, and abuse from their peers and administrators.
This fact does not reflect our country’s founding principle that “all men are created equal.” Only by making progress in this and all areas of discrimination and harassment in this country can we move towards the society we have envisioned.