Biden administration moves to expand Title IX protections to LGBTQ students

The law, initially passed to ensure equality of opportunity among the biological sexes, is being expanded to a number of other categories on its 50th anniversary.

Updated: June 23, 2022 - 1:14pm

The Biden administration on Thursday proposed a significant overhaul of campus sexual assault rules aimed at expanding protections for LGBTQ students and increasing the rights of campus victims of sexual assault.

The proposal was announced on the 50th anniversary of the Title IX women's rights law and will effectively replace a series of campus Title IX rules implemented during the Trump administration by then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Critics of DeVos's rules, which emphasized due process in campus courts, say that the policies went too far in their efforts to protect students accused of sexual misconduct, at the expense of victims.

"As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark law, our proposed changes will allow us to continue that progress and ensure all our nation’s students – no matter where they live, who they are, or whom they love – can learn, grow, and thrive in school," said Biden's Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

The fresh proposal will all but certainly yield a slate of lawsuits challenging the rights of transgender students to participate in some campus activities – sports, for instance. 

Nothing in the 1972 law explicitly makes reference to students in minority sexual orientation groups. The new rules would, for the first time, formally offer protection to LGBTQ students by clarifying that the law applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to biological sex. 

The proposed rules state that "preventing someone from participating in school programs and activities consistent with their gender identity would cause harm in violation of Title IX," according to the education department. The department added that more specific rules pertaining to dealing with the delicate matter of transgender students participating in sporting events will be released at a later date.

"As we look to the next 50 years, I am committed to protecting this progress and working to achieve full equality, inclusion, and dignity for women and girls, LGBTQI+ Americans, all students, and all Americans," said the president in a statement.