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U.S. Department of Education confirms Title IX protects students from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

6/21/2021

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has issued a Notice of Interpretation explaining it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination based on gender identity. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance.

The Office for Civil Rights recently reported that LGBTQ+ students often face additional challenges in schools, including disproportionately experiencing persistent bullying, harassment and victimization. Many LGBTQ+ students have become increasingly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic as they tended to lack access to school-based mental health services and other supports. One survey found that 78 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth reported their mental health was “poor” either most of the time or always during COVID-19, compared with 61 percent of cisgender youth. 

More information and resources for LGBTQ+ students are available from the U.S. Department of Education.