The Biden Education Department on Thursday proposed changes to Title IX that would allow students to participate in school events based on their gender identity, regardless of biological sex.
The proposed changes will effectively abolish sex-separate activities and spaces, including bathrooms and locker rooms. They would also define misuse of gender pronouns as a form of sexual harassment. The Education Department cited the Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County to justify its interpretation of Title IX, claiming schools may not discriminate against a person based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The department withheld a likely more controversial proposal that would allow transgender athletes to participate in women's sports, saying it will provide the rule at a later date.
The hesitation signals caution on the part of the Biden administration, which had twice delayed rolling out the changes. Polls have found a majority of Americans oppose transgender athletes participation in women's sports. Critics say the Biden administration's changes are bad for women.
"A shift from biological sex to gender identity means that girls and women will be forced to accept the presence of biological males in what have always been single-sex spaces." said Erika Sanzi, the director of outreach for Parents Defending Education. "Dignity and respect matter for everyone but so do fairness and safety, and these proposed changes represent a total rejection of fairness and safety in the name of ideology."
The regulations also deliver on President Joe Biden's campaign promise to bring about a "quick end" to the Trump administration's Title IX ruling. The Trump-era regulations preserved due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct, which Education Department has now reversed. The Biden-era proposal strips students of such protections and "reverts back to an 'inquisitorial' model," according to Sanzi, "in which the Title IX coordinator gets to be the sole investigator as well as the judge and jury."
"The Biden administration made the decision to deliberately target the rights of accused students," Sanzi added.
Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX. In a press release marking the occasion, the Education Department claimed the proposed rules ensure "fairness for all parties, respect for freedom of speech and academic freedom, respect for complainants' autonomy, and clear legal obligations that enable robust enforcement of Title IX."
The Education Department's proposed changes come as schools across the country grapple with policies pertaining to transgender students. The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that parents have voiced constitutional objections to a Virginia school district's decision to suspend students who use the wrong pronouns for transgender peers.