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Student Project: Title IX and Transgender Students: Primary Sources

This guide covers how Title IX relates to and protects transgender students.

Legislative History

Department of Justice: Title IX Legal Manual

A comprehensive look at Title IX and its legal implications and standards, provided by the Department of Justice. Unfortunately, the information was last updated in 2015 so further analysis and updating are required.

 

Complied Federal Case Law on Transgender People and Discrimination

Cases

  • Evancho v. Pine-Richland School District, 237 F. Supp.3d 267 ( W.D. Penn. 2017)​
    • A group of transgender students brought claims under both the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX, the Western District of Pennsylvania addressed the nature of Title IX claims and transgender students in the current climate when it stated: " ...[T]his Court simply cannot conclude that the path to relief sought by the Plaintiffs under Title IX is at the moment sufficiently clear such that they have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of that claim. Put plainly, the law surrounding the Regulation and its interpretation and application to Title IX claims relative to the use of common restrooms by transgender students, including the impact of the 2017 Guidance, is at this moment so clouded with uncertainty that this Court is not in a position to conclude which party in this case has the likelihood of success on the merits of that statutory claim." Id. 
  • Doe v. Boyertown Area School District 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137317
    • A group of students who felt that their rights under Title IX were violated because transgender and gender nonconforming students were permitted to use bathrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender identity rather than their biological sex. The Court commented: "To the extent that the court could find that the School District’s practice constituted pervasive harassment of the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs have still failed to show that it is likely that such harassment was severe or objectively offensive. Essentially, the plaintiffs’ position is that the presence of “members of the opposite sex,” meaning transgender students, creates a hostile environment for the plaintiffs and other cisgender students at BASH." Id. at 118.
  • Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified Sch. Dist. No. 1 Bd. of Educ., 858 F.3d 1034 (7th Cir. 2017)
    • Addressing the hot button topic of transgender bathrooms, th 7th Circuit stated: "A policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender iden‐ tity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX. The School District’s policy also subjects Ash, as a transgender student, to different rules, sanctions, and treatment than non‐transgender stu‐ dents, in violation of Title IX. Providing a gender‐neutral alternative is not sufficient to relieve the School District from liability, as it is the policy itself which violates the Act. Further, based on the record here, these gender‐neutral alternatives were not true alternatives because of their distant location to Ash’s classrooms and the increased stigmatization they caused Ash." Id. at 20.
      • This case is currently pending in front of the Supreme Court, SCOTUSblog provides up to date information about the status of the case.​
  • Texas v. U.S., 201 F. Supp. 3d 810 (N.D. Tex. 2016)
    • Following the 2016 "Dear Colleague" Letter on transgender students, Texas, and multiple other states, sued the Departments of Education, Justice, Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about the belief that Title VII and Title IX granted equal access to bathrooms and similarly situated facilities. The Court granted a preliminary junction in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that the defendants were "enjoined from enforcing the Guidelines against Plaintiffs and their respective schools, school boards, and other public, educationally-based instutitons." Id. at 37.
  • Students and Parents For Privacy v. U.S. Department of Education (N.D. Illinois E.D. 20)
    • Parents and students brought suit against the department of education because they did not approve of their children sharing locker rooms and bathrooms with transgender students. The  Magistrate's recommendation on the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment included: "High school students do not have a constitutional right not to share restrooms or locker rooms with transgender students whose sex assigned at birth is different than theirs. In addition, sharing a restroom or locker room with a transgender student does not create a severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive hostile environment under Title IX given the privacy protections District 211 has put in place in those facilities and the alternative facilities available to students who do not want to share a restroom or locker room with a transgender student." Id. at 4.
  • Johnson v. University of Pittsburgh of Com. System of Higher Educ., 97 F.Supp.3d 657 (W.D. Penn. 2015)
    • A transgender student brought suit against the University of Pittsburg for failing to provide him with access to bathrooms and locker rooms designated for men. The Court stated: " this case presents one central question: whether a university, receiving federal funds, engages in unlawful discrimination, in violation of the United States Constitution and federal and state statutes, when it prohibits a transgender male student from using sex-segregated restrooms and locker rooms designated for men on a university campus. The simple answer is no." Id. at 1.
  • Glenn v. Brumby, 663 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2011)
    • Although in the context of employment discrimination, the 11th Circuit stated "Accordingly, discrimination against a transgender individual because of her gender-nonconformity is sex discrimination, whether it's described as being on the basis of sex or gender." Id.