Biden Education Dept. Issues “Dear Educator” Letter To Warn Teachers of Transgender Discrimination


The Biden administration’s Department of Education has issued a letter to public schools nationwide to bring them up to speed on its recent Title IX policy change including transgender people (as well as others in the LGBTQIA+ group) in discrimination protections.

The “Dear Educator” letter was published last week on the 49th anniversary of the establishment of Title IX, a federal rule intended to end discrimination against women and girls in education. The letter comes nearly a week after the agency announced that transgender and other “gender-nonconforming” students were protected under the rule.

The letter, written by the department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg, explains to educators that “Title IX’s protection against sex discrimination encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights works to ensure that Title IX’s mandate protects students in all aspects of their education, including recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; protections from sex-based harassment, which encompasses sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; equal access to classes and activities; and treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) students,” Goldberg wrote.

Goldberg declared that the Office for Civil Rights “will fully enforce Title IX to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in education programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the department.”

The letter was accompanied by a fact sheet about “Confronting Anti-LGBTQI+ Discrimination in Schools.”

The fact sheet gives several examples of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity that the OCR could investigate:

A lesbian high school student wants to bring her girlfriend to a school social event where students can bring a date. Teachers refuse to sell her tickets, telling the student that bringing a girl as a date is “not appropriate for school.” Teachers suggest that the student attend alone or bring a boy as a date.

When he starts middle school, a transgender boy introduces himself as Brayden and tells his classmates he uses he/him pronouns. Some of his former elementary school classmates “out” him to others, and every day during physical education class call him transphobic slurs, push him, and call him by his former name. When he reports it to the school’s administrators, they dismiss it, saying: “you can’t expect everyone to agree with your choices.”

A community college student discloses he’s gay during a seminar discussion. Leaving class, a group of students calls him a homophobic slur, and one bumps him into the wall. A professor witnesses this, but does nothing. Over the next month, the harassment worsens. The student goes to his dean after missing several lectures out of fear. The college interviews one, but not all, of the harassers, does nothing more, and never follows up with the student.

An elementary school student with intersex traits dresses in a gender neutral way, identifies as nonbinary, and uses they/them pronouns. The student’s teacher laughs when other students ask if they are “a boy or a girl” and comments that there is “only one way to find out.” The teacher tells the class that there are only boys and girls and anyone who thinks otherwise has something wrong with them. The student tells an administrator, who remarks “you have to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes.”

On her way to the girls’ restroom, a transgender high school girl is stopped by the principal who bars her entry. The principal tells the student to use the boys’ restroom or nurse’s office because her school records identify her as “male.” Later, the student joins her friends to try out for the girls’ cheerleading team and the coach turns her away from tryouts solely because she is transgender. When the student complains, the principal tells her “those are the district’s policies.”

“It’s an unhappy anniversary for Title IX,” said Family Policy Alliance’s Meridian Baldacci of the letter. “Today, the Biden administration single-handedly turned Title IX on its head to say that women are discriminating against men when they have concerns about men being called ‘women,’ using their locker rooms, competing on their sports teams, or taking away their championships and scholarship opportunities. That the Department of Education is demanding this in the name of ‘protecting’ students and stopping ‘discrimination’ is stunning. This move is misguided and antithetical to the purpose of Title IX.”

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