Biden Proposes New Title IX Rule for Transgender Athletes

Overall, the proposed rule gives schools some discretion in creating their own policies but prohibits blanket bans.

Biden Proposes New Title IX Rule for Transgender Athletes

Photo: alswart, Adobe Stock

The Biden Administration announced Thursday a proposed Title IX change that would make it illegal for schools to categorically ban transgender students from participating on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

“Such bans fail to account for differences among students across grade and education levels,” the Education Department said Thursday in a news release. “They also fail to account for different levels of competition — including no-cut teams that let all students participate — and different types of sports.”

Instead, under the new rule, schools would be given the ability to adopt their own policies based on grade, sport, and level of competition in order to give opportunities to transgender students while recognizing the need to ensure competitive fairness, reports ESPN.

“The proposed regulation would give schools flexibility to identify their own important educational objectives. They might include, for example, fairness, and competition, or preventing sports-related injuries,” a senior department official said to reporters Thursday. “Some objectives, such as the disapproval of transgender students, or a desire to harm a particular student, would not qualify as important educational objectives.”

It is expected that transgender elementary school students will generally be allowed to participate on sports teams consistent with their gender identity while older students, particularly those in high school or college, are expected to be subjected to sex-related criteria that may limit their participation in school sports, according to The Hill. The senior official said the department is “ready and eager” to work with schools to develop policies that both meet Title IX requirements and minimize harm to transgender students.

The proposed rule was announced the day after Kansas became the 20th state to impose blanket bans on transgender athletes since 2020. Kansas lawmakers who support the ban, which is set to take effect July 1, are also pursuing proposals to end gender-affirming care for minors and restrict transgender bathroom use.

W. Scott Lewis, managing partner with TNG Consulting and a member of the advisory board of the Association of Title IX Administrators, said the proposed regulation would supersede other laws that ban transgender athletes from sports if it is adopted as a final rule. However, the rule will likely be challenged in court, he said.

The same day as Education Department’s announcement, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an emergency request by West Virginia’s Attorney General to overturn a lower court’s decision to allow a 12-year-old transgender student to race in track and field competitions among other athletes with her same gender identity.

Some LGBTQ+ advocates have denounced the proposed revision, accusing Biden of backtracking on his previous commitments to protect transgender youth, says The Hill.

“The Biden Administration framed their proposal as a ban on blanket discrimination against trans athletes. But actually, it provides guidelines for how schools and universities can ban trans athletes legally,” said Imara Jones, the founder and chief executive of TransLash Media, a nonprofit organization and digital community. “It’s hard to have a ‘middle ground’ when it comes [to] supporting human rights for trans people, and I can’t see how Joe Biden can straddle the fence here.”

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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