WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, 6 transgender and nonbinary college and high school student athletes from across the United States met with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to discuss the urgent need to address sex-based discrimination in school sports. Convened by the National Center for Transgender Equality and The GenderCool Project, the students met with deputy assistant secretary Suzanne Goldberg and other representatives from the department.
In June of 2022, the Biden administration proposed an update to Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools, to clarify that the law protects from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. Transgender advocates regarded this as a strong rule that includes protections that positively impact trans students. However, June's proposed regulation did not address athletics, which the department said would be addressed “soon” in a future rule.
Advocates have been pressuring the administration to move quickly on the athletics rule before the end of the year.
“We need swift action on this athletics rule to protect the trans young people who are being discriminated against at school every single day,” said Alexis Vida Rangel, policy counsel for the National Center for Transgender Equality.
As one student from Wyoming said, “No athlete or person should have to live their life in fear over something they cannot control and be forced to keep themself hidden from those that are supposed to know and care about their whole self. If this is how I, a 20-year-old college student with access to a couple resources, feel, imagine how young elementary, middle school, and high schoolers feel as they are made to sit on the metaphorical side line and watch their rights get debated and taken away from them over something like this.”
Transgender young people are now the target of national political debates that rarely include their voices. In, the meeting yesterday, the student athletes discussed their experiences with sports and the kinds of supports or obstacles they’ve had in participating.
Transgender youth, their loved ones, and advocates eagerly await progress on the proposed Title IX athletics rule.