The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (DOE, OCR) is holding virtual hearings this week, June 7-11, “to gather information for improving enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.”
The public hearings include the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in education. The DOE’s announcement said, “OCR also seeks the public’s comments on the Department’s role in addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in educational environments.”
The Daily Citizen spoke with Nicole Hudgens, who heads up governmental affairs for the Family Policy Alliance (FPA). She said the DOE hearings are similar to a school board meeting with concerned individuals weighing in on the issues.
Hudgens is concerned that redefining education rules to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” will have a damaging effect on parental rights in education, girls and women’s sports, and privacy and safety in restrooms and locker rooms.
She told us that if the DOE moves forward with revising Title IX, it would take “opportunities from girls in sports or force them to share locker rooms with boys.”
“We urge parents to raise their voice and tell the Department of Education to protect the rights of women and girls, not a radical political ideology,” Hudgens added. She also said it’s important for parents, family members and other concerned citizens to speak out on this issue, especially by providing unique comments – either written or live during the hearings – to the DOE.
Hudgens noted the negative effects for sports, where girls would be required to compete against gender-confused boys. She said, “Every girl should have the chance to compete on a level playing field and President Biden’s Education Department has no place attempting to implement this radical agenda into every local school district in the country.”
Here’s some background on the hearings and what they could lead to for schools and students – from kindergarten through university.
Back in 2010 the Obama administration sent out a “Dear Colleague Letter” that included guidance for schools on “gender-based harassment.” The letter acknowledged that Title IX did not include “sexual orientation” – nor did the act even mention the word “gender.” Still, the administration said that “it can be sex discrimination if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.”
When Title IX was signed into law, it forbade “sex discrimination” in education, meaning discrimination based on being male or female. Schools that received federal funds were to be equitable in their treatment of males and females in the classroom, in activities and in sports.
By shifting to language like “gender-based” and “sex stereotypes,” the Obama administration was working to broaden Title IX to include both “sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The administration went further in 2011, when its DOE and Department of Justice (DOJ) pursued action against the Arcadia Unified School District, in California. A seventh-grade transgender-identified girl, born female but living as a boy, complained that the district did not let her use male restrooms and locker rooms and did not allow her to bunk with boys in a cabin at an overnight camp.
The DOE and DOJ reached an agreement with Arcadia Unified in 2013 that the student “will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district.” This sent a strong message to schools across America: Schools should treat students on the basis of their “gender identity,” rather than on the basis of their physical sex, or federal agencies will come after you for “discrimination based on sex.”
Then, in 2016, the Obama DOE and DOJ sent out another “Dear Colleague Letter” to schools that spurred a new wave of transgender policies. The letter gave “significant guidance” to schools, including, “When a school provides sex-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
The letter threatened the loss of Title IX funds for schools that did not comply.
That letter and the transgender policies it laid out were challenged by a lawsuit from 13 states, which later expanded to 23 states. A judge placed a preliminary injunction against the agencies’ actions in 2016.
The Trump Administration rescinded the guidance, along with other DOE transgender policies. But the damage was already done. States and school districts continued to implement transgender policies that affect girls and women’s sports, parental rights, and privacy and safety in restrooms, locker rooms, and educational housing – still pointing to the rescinded letter as “guidance.”
Now, the Biden administration wants to bring back those same Obama-era policies – going even further. On his first day in office, President Biden signed an “Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.”
The order took the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Bostock, when it redefined “sex” in Title VII employment law to include homosexuality and transgenderism, and it required every federal department and agency to review all policies and regulations to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Every single agency, and every single policy or regulation – the DOE is simply following orders.
In addition to responding to that executive order, the DOE said the hearings were also based on another White House executive order from March 8, an “Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free From Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.” This order tells the DOE to redefine “sex discrimination” to include subjective, fluid, changeable traits based on sexual attractions, thoughts, behaviors, feelings and identities.
Concerned citizens can submit personalized written comments to the DOE from June 7-11 and “Tell the Department of Education NOT to make changes to Title IX.” We also encourage our readers to share this article with like-minded friends and family members, so that others can give input on these key issues.
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