US: Department of Education confirms anti-trans discrimination is illegal

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The US Department of Education has confirmed that discrimination against transgender students is prohibited under an existing policy from the 1970s.

The department today clarified its interpretation of Title IX – which was adopted in 1972 – as prohibiting discrimination against trans people.

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.”

Harper Jean Tobin, Policy Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said: “This announcement is a breakthrough for transgender students, who too often face hostility at school and refusal by school officials to accept them for who they truly are.

“It is now clearer than ever that schools nationwide are responsible for ensuring that transgender students are respected and safe, and students can seek protection from the Department of Education and the courts if schools fail to do so.

In the past year, trans students have been banned from college dorm rooms, banned from using women’s toilets, and refused admission by a college on the ground they were ‘concealing’ their identity.