It's not clear how much of a bulwark it will be against legislation around the country to limit their rights, but the US Education Department has released guidance decreeing that Title IX prohibits discrimination against gay and transgender students. The guidance cites a Supreme Court ruling a year ago that the group is protected in the workplace by federal civil rights laws, the New York Times reports; Title IX bars sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools, the announcement Wednesday said. "The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination," the department said in a statement, per CNN. "And our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections." Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the new policy is: "Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity."
That reverses the policy under the Trump administration. The Education Department issued guidance just before Trump left office saying the Supreme Court ruling did not protect transgender students. Last year, Trump officials threatened to keep federal money from schools that let transgender students play on sports teams. But since the Biden administration came in, guidance backing the rights of transgender people has been issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Justice Department, and the Department of Health and Human Services. At the same time, Republican lawmakers are considering legislation to prohibit transgender girls from playing sports. "Across the country, politicians have targeted transgender youth for discrimination at school," said an LGBTQ advocate. "Now those same kids know that the Biden administration and the US Department of Education see them for who they really are and will defend their right to fully participate in school." (Read more LGBTQ stories.)