Keenan Blog

Transgender Students: Understanding Title IX Compliance

June 28, 2016

Legislation in several states to require individuals to use bathrooms and other gender-segregated facilities based on their birth gender received a lot of recent news coverage. Two federal government agencies have responded with guidance on how such laws violate federal civil rights statutes and could affect local agencies that receive federal funding.

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education issued official guidance clarifying that transgender students are protected from discrimination under Title IX, a federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. All public schools must provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities or face the loss of federal funds!

Keenan recently produced a webinar presented by Gabriel Sandoval and Aaron O’Donnell from the law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo. The presentation outlines the Title IX obligations regarding transgender students and explains how the feds will evaluate compliance. If you didn’t get to attend the live webinar, or you would like to review it again, you can view the recording here.

The new federal guidance states that not providing equal access “encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status.” The webinar answers common questions about Title IX compliance specific to the transgender issue, including:

  • What should schools be thinking about to protect the rights of transgender students under Title IX?
  • What does this mean about the use of facilities such as bathrooms? What about locker rooms?
  • Is this federal guidance different from the requirements under California law?
  • Is lack of funding an excuse for not complying with Title IX?