On April 6, the U.S. Department of Education released a series of proposed changes to the Title IX rules that would govern the participation of transgender athletes in school sports. The proposed rules would forbid the adoption of wholesale bans on transgender students’ participation in sports teams that coincide with their gender identity. However, the draft changes proposed by the Biden administration would permit schools to block transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams when there are concerns regarding “fairness in competition” or “preventing sports-related injury.”
Any such restrictions may not be based solely on “disapproval of transgender students” but must be based on criteria that “serve important educational objectives.” Such criteria must also minimize the harm experienced by transgender students whose opportunity to play on a team that coincides with their gender identity would be denied or restricted.
The Hill reports that “it is expected that transgender elementary students will generally be able to participate on sports teams consistent with their gender identity, while older students – especially at the high school and college level – are expected to be subjected to sex-related criteria that limit their participation in school sports.”
New Changes Come In Wake of Legal Challenges and Controversy
The Biden administration’s proposed rule changes come in the wake of recent controversy over a series of statewide transgender bans in at least 20 states and other legal challenges to both transgender bans and pro-transgender rules. In a previous blog, we have covered the DOE’s 2021 guidance regarding the inclusion of transgender students under Title IX protections. More recently, we have written about how the 2nd Circuit upheld a pro-transgender law against a Title IX challenge.
These new changes will be subject to a public comment period of 30 days after which the Department of Education will review the comments and amend the proposed language as they see fit. Legal challenges are likely to pour in once the proposed changes are finalized.
At Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC, our experienced Title IX defense attorneys understand that the Title IX legal landscape changes quickly. We know how vital it is to remain current and up to date with the latest developments in Title IX law so that we can provide the best legal support to our clients.
If you need support with your Title IX case or have concerns about how to stay in compliance with the rapidly shifting Title IX regulations regarding LGTBQI+ students, contact us online or call us at (737) 200-2332 to schedule a consultation.