Barack Obama has welcomed a ruling that trans students should be protected from discrimination.

In April, the US Department of Education confirmed that discrimination against transgender students is prohibited under Title IX – an existing anti-sexism policy from the 1970s.

The policy 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.”

A statement from the Department’s Office for Civil Rights said: “Title IX#s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such complaints for investigation.”

In a live Q&A session on Tumblr today, Obama was asked about the ruling, and the discrimination that trans students face.

He said: “Title IX is a powerful tool.

“Yesterday I had both the University of Connecticut’s men and women’s basketball teams here.

“The UConn women’s program… they rule.

“Talking to these young women, they are beautiful, and some of them are 6’6″, and supremely confident and competitive, and that’s a huge shift from even 20 years ago.

“The reason for that was Title IX was applied vigorously in schools and it gave them opportunities.

“The fact that we are applying [Title IX] to transgender students means that they are going to be in a position to assert their rights if and when they see that they are being discriminated [against] on their college campuses, and that could manifest itself in a whole variety of ways.”