The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has determined it does not have jurisdiction over responding to discrimination on the basis of gender identity. This approach has led the office to dismiss multiple complaints by transgender students.
The department’s Office for Civil Rights has told at least three transgender students that it is no longer required to handle matters related to alleged discrimination, HuffPost reported Tuesday.
“OCR determined we do not have subject matter jurisdiction over Allegation 1, insomuch as the alleged discriminatory conduct you described does not raise any prohibitive bases under the civil rights laws OCR enforces,” an agency letter dismissing one complaint read, according to HuffPost.
After rescinding the guidance, OCR officials told staffers to rely on “Title IX and its implementing regulations … in evaluating complaints of sex discrimination against individuals whether or not the individual is transgender.”
“Through their inaction, the Trump administration is attempting to write transgender students out of the protections of Title IX,” said James Esseks, director of the LGBT & HIV Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “But the courts have concluded time and again that federal civil rights laws protect trans students from discrimination, including in the context of restroom and locker room use. The Trump administration may abdicate their obligation to trans students and their families, but the ACLU will not. We stand with transgender students, and will continue to fight for their right to an education free from discrimination.”