Biden Administration Finalizes Title IX Changes, Enhancing LGBTQ+ Protections

The Biden administration has finalized new rules aimed at protecting LGBTQ+ students and enhancing safeguards for victims of campus sexual assault under Title IX, fulfilling a campaign promise by President Joe Biden. These changes reverse policies implemented by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, which included new protections for students accused of sexual misconduct.

However, notably absent from Biden’s policy is any mention of transgender athletes. The administration initially planned to include a provision preventing schools from imposing outright bans on transgender athletes, but this was put on hold amid political pressures, particularly during an election year where Republicans have rallied against transgender athletes in girls’ sports.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona emphasized the significance of the new rules, stating they “make crystal clear that everyone can access schools that are safe, welcoming and that respect their rights.” Cardona highlighted the unfortunate reality of discrimination faced by many based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The revised Title IX regulation clarifies that LGBTQ+ students are protected under the law, a point of contention with Republicans who argue that Congress never intended such protections. Critics like Rep. Virginia Foxx, chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, expressed concern that the new regulation threatens the progress made for women and girls.

The overhaul, proposed nearly two years ago, has faced delays due to an extensive comment period that drew a record number of responses. Many changes are focused on ensuring schools respond appropriately to sexual misconduct complaints, broadening the definition of sexual harassment and granting more protections to students who bring accusations.

Despite the emphasis on victim safeguards, the new rules maintain certain protections for accused students, including equal access to evidence and witnesses, the right to bring an advisor to campus hearings, and a fair appeals process.