The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

Title IX covers transgender students

On April 29, the U.S. Department of Education clarified the previously unanswered question of whether transgender students were protected under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination against students based on gender.

The department confirmed transgender students are protected under this legislation.

Howie Kallem, UNC’s Title IX compliance coordinator and member of the University’s Sexual Assault Task Force, said UNC’s policies already protected transgender students.

In an email, Kallem said the current policy prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of many factors, including gender identity or expression — and that covers transgender students.

The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault clarified, using guidance from the Department of Education's Office for Civl Rights, that Title IX protects all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, Kallem said.

Hilary Delbridge, a spokeswoman from UNC’s Equal Opportunity Office, said the task force feels positively about the change in the wording of the legislation, particularly in relation to sexual assault and sexual violence.

“The task force is in full support of it. We’re not aware of any pushback against the inclusion of students who identify as transgender,” she said.

Terri Phoenix, director of UNC’s LGBTQ Center, said the University has banned discrimination on the basis of gender since 2011, when the " Dear Colleague" letter was written, which provided guidance and examples of Title IX policies.

“At UNC, we have been talking about that since the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter, and our policy will include gender-based harassment,” Phoenix said.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in an interview with NPR she thinks the change in legislation will be important to sexual assault and sexual violence.

“(Transgender people) have to be protected, too, nobody opposes that,” she said.

“I mean, I cannot believe there are any reasonable people in the United States who believe that transgender people shouldn’t be protected.”

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