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Student Project: Title IX and Transgender Students: Obama Administration

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

Obama Admin Pic 1

Judicial Stay

In August of 2016, mere months after the "Dear Colleague" Letter, a federal judge in Texas issued an opinion which prevented the federal government from enforcing the procedures detailed in the letter. 

Obama Administration's Position

Under the Obama Administration, both the Department of Justice and the Department of Education stated that Title IX applies to and protects transgender students. The Departments released guidance documents detailing how to apply the protections of Title IX to transgender students, instructing schools on an issue that otherwise had varied on the state level. Specifically, the Administration provided clarity about how schools should operate in the age of the transgender bathroom debate. 

Guidance Documents

 "Does Title IX protect all students from sexual violence? 

Yes. Title IX protects all students at recipient institutions from sex discrimination, including sexual violence. Any student can experience sexual violence: from elementary to professional school students; male and female students; straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students; part-time and full-time students; students with and without disabilities; and students of different races and national origins." 

Intended by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice to be used as significant guidance for schools when applying Title IX to students who are targeted for their gender identity, including transgender status. The letter provides a comprehensive guide to compliance with Title IX for transgender students, including the requirements for safe and nondiscriminatory environment, sex-segregated activities and facilities and privacy and education records. 

The Department of Education provided guidance on creating safe, nondiscriminatory schools for all students. The emerging policies and practices go hand in hand with the Dear Colleague letter to combat transgender discrimination in schools.

"“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.  “This guidance gives administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.  I look forward to continuing our work with the Department of Education – and with schools across the country – to create classroom environments that are safe, nurturing, and inclusive for all of our young people.”"

President Obama on Transgender Students

President Obama, in an interview with Buzzfeed News, briefly discussed the issues transgender students face generally and more specifically, the issues in North Carolina where law suits were filed. 

Federalist Society: Review of Transgender Guidance

The Federalist Society recently published a paper through the Regulatory Transparency Project which reviewed several Department of Education programs. One of the topics was "Transgender Issues," which discusses the Obama Administration's guidance documents, Title IX and transgender students.