Feds clarify: Title IX sexual violence protection extends to transgender students

Kia Farhang

The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday clarified that a federal civil rights law designed to stop gender discrimination extends its sexual violence protections to transgender students.

Title IX, enacted more than 30 years ago, mandates the equal treatment of men and women in education.

A recent Q&A posted by the Department of Education clarified that transgender students are also protected from sexual violence under the law.

More than 10 percent of transgender students in grades K-12 reported being sexually assaulted, according to a 2011 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The survey also found that 41 percent of respondents attempted suicide, compared to less than 2 percent of the general population.

The federal clarification comes amid a push for transgender equality across higher education and at the University of Minnesota.

The University will begin offering gender-neutral housing this fall, and a technology change in February 2015 will allow transgender students to provide their preferred names for class rosters.

"This announcement is a breakthrough for transgender students, who too often face hostility at school and refusal by school officials to accept them for who they truly are," Harper Jean Tobin, policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement.