President Biden, in an executive order aimed at “preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation,” is calling on schools across the country to allow transgender athletes to participate in the sport of their gender identity.
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” reads the new order, released on the first day of his presidency.
The order is a strong signal that the Justice Department is going to enforce it via Title IX — and schools that don’t comply risk losing funding.
The order also calls for equal treatment “regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation” in the workplace and in health care settings. “All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” the order states.
The order points to Supreme court case Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) where the court held Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination “because of . . . sex” includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
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Biden, in the order, tied in intersectional discrimination, writing that discrimination on the bases of gender identity and sexual orientation is often coupled with discrimination based on race or disability.
Heads of agencies are ordered to reassess their policies dealing with Title VII or any statute prohibiting sex discrimination.
Transgender athletes in schools was a hot topic of debate last year, when 17 states introduced bills to restrict athletes’ participation to sports of their gender assigned at birth. Only one became law– in Idaho. The Trump administration supported the ban, but a federal judge temporarily blocked its implementation after a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).