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Title IX now protects LGBT students from discrimination

| Apr 7, 2021 | Discrimination, Title IX |

LGBT students and employees of educational institutions receiving federal funding have greater protections against discrimination in light of new guidance on Title IX from the Biden administration. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). In a letter dated March 26, 2021, the Department of Justice has told all federal agencies that this prohibition against sex discrimination includes a prohibition against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Department of Justice arrived at this conclusion as a result of a recent Supreme Court decision called Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731, 590 U.S. ¬__ (2020). In Bostock, the Supreme Court interpreted a different federal law, Title VII, which prohibits sex discrimination in employment. The Supreme Court reasoned that because it is impossible to discriminate against LGBT employees on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation without taking sex into consideration that Title VII already prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. The Department of Justice applied the same reasoning to Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination in educational institutions. While some courts have previously reached the same conclusion, the new guidance clarifies that LGBT students and employees at educational institutions have a powerful new tool to fight discrimination.