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US Education Department reaffirms that sex discrimination law protects transgender students in schools

US Education Department reaffirms that sex discrimination law protects transgender students in schools

The US Department of Education has expanded guidelines that protect transgender people in schools under federal laws covering sex discrimination, sending out an official ‘significant guidance document’ to clarify that transgender students must be allowed to attend single-sex classes of their preferred gender.

The Department of Education announced that it had decided that sex discrimination laws covered transgender students in April and the new document gives further advice to schools that receive federal funding on how they should approach the issue.

The document ‘Questions and Answers on Title IX and Single-Sex Elementary and Secondary Classes and Extracurricular Activities’ was released on 1 December by US Assistant Secretary Catherine E Lhamon and addresses sex discrimination issues as they relate to single-sex classes and school activities under Title IX of the US’ civil rights laws.

‘All students, including transgender students and students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX,’ the document reads.

‘Under Title IX, a recipient generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes.’

Title IX states, ‘No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.’

The new directive also stresses that teachers should not be chosen to teach single-sex classes based solely on their gender.