Support the New Title IX Rule Protecting Transgender, Non-Binary, and Intersex Athletes!

What is the new Title IX Proposed Rule?

The Department of Education has released a proposed rule that will require and enforce protections for trans, non-binary, and intersex student athletes under Title IX. The Department of Education makes it clear in this proposed rule that policies that categorically ban trans students from participation in school sports are a violation of Title IX. This would thereby make all current anti-trans sports bans enacted by states across the country unlawful. The proposed rule also establishes a stringent standard preventing schools from using overbroad generalizations, false assumptions, transphobic myths, and sex-stereotypes as grounds to ban trans students from participating on sports teams aligned with their gender identity.

Why has this new rule been released?

This new proposed rule is in response to the increased number of legislative bans restricting participation of trans athletes in school sports introduced and enacted in states across the country. There are currently 21 states that have enacted blanket bans on trans athletes, and the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed an anti-trans sports bill that would ban trans women and girls from competing on school sports teams aligned with their gender identities.

How does this proposed rule help trans, non-binary, and intersex youth?

2023 has seen a record surge of anti-LGBTQ legislation with over 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced across the county.  Over 200 of these bills are aimed at LGBTQ+ youth in school settings. In a recent survey by the Trevor Project, 86% of trans youth said that their mental health was negatively impacted by recent debates over anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures. Many of these bills are aimed at preventing trans students from participating in sports. In 2021, 16.0% of TNB students reported that they were prevented from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender, and this has likely worsened in recent years due to the proliferation of these anti-trans sports bans.

These anti-trans bills only serve to harm trans youth, who already experience stark health disparities compared to their cisgender counterparts. Trans youth experience higher rates of poor mental health, suicide, substance use, and violence. Around 44% of trans youth reported considering suicide in the previous year in part due to the harassment and discrimination they experience at school specifically. The new proposed rule is a critical step for the federal government to take to intervene against anti-trans legislation and improve educational experiences and well-being for trans youth. Sports participation has been associated with increased self-esteem and self-confidence,improved academic performance,and broader social capital and community connectedness. All students deserve to access the benefits of participation in school sports and this proposed rule helps to ensure that trans youth are not robbed of those opportunities and health benefits.

I hear there are exceptions in the proposed rule that would allow for trans athletes to be banned. Is this true?

The proposed rule sets very strict criteria that needs to be met in order for a school to restrict participation of trans athletes. Schools can only limit students’ participation in sports consistent with gender identity if the restriction is substantially related to an important educational activity and it minimizes harm to any student whose opportunity to participate is restricted. Enforced properly, this will sharply restrict schools’ ability to enact policies to ban trans athletes from participating on teams that align with their gender identities. Schools are also prohibited from excluding trans athletes based on generalizations or myths that extremists rely on to pass anti-trans sports bans. The Department of Education can strengthen this proposed rule by providing clear examples in the regulatory text of problematic and transphobic “justifications” for restriction of trans athletes that would be prohibited by the rule. This will limit ambiguity that anti-trans extremists may seek to exploit in order to advance their agendas.

I support trans athletes and these protections. Is there some way to let that be known?

This proposed rule is open to the public submitting comments in support! The Department of Education wants to hear from you about how important it is for trans, non-binary, and intersex athletes to be protected and not discriminated against. You have until May 15 at 11:59 pm EST to submit a comment in support of this important rule. You can use the Let Us Play submission portal to submit a comment, or you can write your own comment to submit directly to the Department of Education. For more information you can read HB’s blog on trans sports bans.

Thank you for your advocacy! For more information, please be sure to check out our Advocacy website.


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