We hear from hundreds of students each year who simply want to be themselves and learn at school. Sadly, many schools continue to exclude transgender students from being able to fully participate. Now, every school in the nation should know they are required to give all students, including transgender students, a fair chance at success.
--Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center
This guidance is crystal clear and leaves no room for uncertainty on the part of schools regarding their legal obligation to protect transgender students from discrimination. The Office for Civil Rights must now take the next step and issue comprehensive guidance on Title IX and transgender students.
--Ian Thompson, ACLU
This is the first time the federal government has extended rules prohibiting sex discrimination in education to cover transgender students.
In 2012 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a similar ruling in an attempt to protect transgender employees from workplace discrimination.
It certainly would be our view that transgender students should be given the ability to participate in sex segregated activities, like sports teams, consistent with their gender identity. Failure on part of the school to allow that would be discrimination against that student.
The other areas in which federal law explicitly protects people on the basis of gender identity are the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
There’s clearly a tremendous amount of work still to be done. The important point is in the absence of explicit protections in federal statutes.
This guidance is very helpful, and having OCR take this position with respect to Title IX is very significant. But it should not be read as a substitution for explicit sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination protections being put into place with a federal statute.
The ACLU calls for Congress to pasas both the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which both explicitly would protect transgender people.
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.
--NCTE Policy Director Harper Jean Tobin
Every student has a fundamental right to go to school in a safe learning environment that respects who they are as a person. We thank the Department of Education for doing the right thing and standing with transgender and gender non-conforming students who desearve nothing less than a safe learning experience.
--Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow<