Dear Secretary DeVos:
We recently learned that a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Education has gone on record to confirm the Department, under Donald Trump and your leadership, won’t investigate or take action on any claims by transgender students involving access to restrooms and other sex-segregated spaces.
This is a galling and discriminatory statement from an agency charged with protecting and educating our nation’s youth. It is also deeply misinformed, and on perilous legal footing.
As you know, the Office of Civil Rights, which investigates cases for the Department of Education, is charged with enforcing and interpreting Title IX consistent with case law and the adjudications of other Federal agencies. Going back several decades, the courts, and multiple federal agencies, have interpreted “sex” discrimination to include “sex stereotyping” and thus discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Three years ago, Garden State Equality wrote to the Office of Civil Rights for clarification on how they interpret Title IX as it relates to transgender students. The response was clear: Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination “encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including discrimination because a student is transgender.”
As Secretary of Department of Education it is your duty to protect ALL of our Nation's children. Please follow the more than 25 years of case law so these vulnerable young people and all our youth have equal educational opportunity.