A Texas Tussle Over Title IX

A Texas Tussle Over Title IX
Photo by Element5 Digital / Unsplash

After the Biden Administration announced new guidelines about Title IX, the landmark 1972 legislation that bans discrimination based on sex in education, both the Governor and Attorney General of Texas made it clear they will not comply.

Last month, the Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona unveiled new regulations pertaining to Title IX. The new guidelines reversed some changes that occurred under the Trump administration with then-Secretary DeVos that provided certain protections to students on college campuses that were accused of assault.

In addition to undoing the policies under the previous administration, the new Title IX regulations also provide more protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The regulations also note that any claim of discrimination must be met by a school with a “fair, transparent, and reliable process.” Cardona praised the new guidelines in his statement announcing their unveiling. “These final regulations build on the legacy of Title IX by clarifying that all our nation’s students can access schools that are safe, welcoming, and respect their rights.”

These new guidelines are set to take effect in August. They apply to all schools, elementary and above, that receive federal funding. The new protections under Title IX are not as expansive as many advocates would have hoped for. Though many red state lawmakers (including Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton) have called these new regulations an attack on women’s sports, there’s no mention about sports leagues in the updated guidance.

Abbott released a statement slamming the Biden Administration, that also instructs the Texas Education Agency to ignore what he called an “illegal” overreach. “You have rewritten Title IX to force schools to treat boys as if they are girls and to accept every student’s self-declared gender identity,” said Abbott. “This ham-handed effort to impose a leftist belief onto Title IX exceeds your authority as President.” 

Earlier this month Abbott told an audience of the Young Conservatives of Texas that transgender or gender-non-conforming teachers should not be “normalized.” He also said it was behavior “we want to make sure we end in Texas.”

With the new Title IX regulations, Paxton has joined a cohort of other red state Attorneys General in suing the Biden Administration. In Paxton’s lawsuit, America First Legal, a far-right legal defense organization, is serving as co-counsel. Stephen Miller, a former White House official under the Trump Administration who now heads America First Legal, called the new guidelines both an “abomination” and a “vile obscenity.”

Paxton filed the lawsuit in Amarillo, all but assuring the case will be heard by Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. He previously ruled against certain guidelines from HHS meant to protect LGBTQ employees in 2022.