US

Joe Biden’s proposed Title IX amendments hailed a triumph for LGBTQ+ kids

Danai Nesta Kupemba June 24, 2022
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Biden has announced a proposed change to Title IX that will help LGBT+ youth. (Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

LGBTQ+ groups have welcomed Joe Biden’s proposed expansion of Title IX to protect LGBTQ+ students.

On Thursday (23 June), the Biden administration announced proposed amendments to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools and federally-funded education programmes.

The proposal, announced on the 50th anniversary of the legislation being signed into law, would ensure LGBTQ+ students are protected under the law. It would be the first time queer students’ rights would be enshrined by Title IX.

Among the changes, “preventing someone from participating in school programs and activities consistent with their gender identity would cause harm in violation of Title IX”, and the definition of sexual harassment would be expended.

Legal director of The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Sarah Warbelow, called the Title IX proposals a triumph.

“The proposed rule change gets at the heart of what Title IX is supposed to do – protect students from sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination while on campus,” Warbelow said.

She added: “By spelling out protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, it will further safeguard a vulnerable population that is all too often preyed upon.

“It is especially important, given the attacks on transgender youth across the country.”

The amendments would restore protections removed by the Trump administration in 2020 that the Department of Education said had “weakened protections for survivors of sexual assault and diminished the promise of an education free from discrimination.”

Under Trump LGBT+ were unsafe. (Credit: Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

Under Trump’s revisions, transgender children can be legally excluded from restrooms, locker rooms, and sex-separated programs and activities including athletics consistent with their gender identity.

Transgender right project director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Jennifer Levi also welcomed Biden’s announcement.

Levi said: “Transgender young people are especially vulnerable to bullying, harassment and violence in school settings because of escalating state legislative attacks.

“The proposed rules issued today by the Department of Education send an important message to LGBTQ students and their families that federal law protects them.”

GLAD executive director Janson Wu said: “These proposed regulations demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting educational opportunities for all students including LGBTQ students.

“Especially in light of ongoing state legislative attacks, we are grateful for the administration’s strong support of LGBTQ youth.”

In a statement from the White House, Joe Biden said: “Over the last 50 years, our nation has made monumental progress in advancing equity and equality for all students, including by narrowing gender gaps in sports, expanding opportunities in science and technology fields, and protecting students from sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment and sexual violence.”

However, Biden said there is more work to be done to protect LGBTQ+ people.

“I am committed to protecting this progress and working to achieve full equality, inclusion, and dignity for women and girls, LGBTQI+ Americans, all students, and all Americans,” he said.

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