Reaction to Title IX expansion to protect student gender identity and sexual orientation

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Department of Education announced Wednesday that Title IX protections will be expanded to protect gay and transgender students, meaning students can’t be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Governor Kristi Noem highlighted Title IX earlier this year, saying the law is about fairness in sports, backing her belief transgender girls should not play in girls’ sports.

“These biological differences lead to very different athletic capabilities so put simply it is fundamentally unfair for men to compete in women’s sports and it’s a violation of Title IX, Title IX was created to level the playing field between men and women, it was independent to give opportunities to women,” Gov. Noem said in a March 2021 press conference.

In response to Wednesday’s announcement, the Governor says she will continue to defend Title IX from what she calls “outrageous overreach” by the U.S. Department of Education, arguing that the federal government “should enforce Title IX in a way that protects fairness for women’s sports, rather than misusing it in a way that undermines fairness.”

Meantime, the ACLU of South Dakota calls the move a major step forward for rights for everyone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It really gives people the opportunity to say you know what if I’m a transgender student-athlete, I do have the right to play on sports teams that match my gender identity,” said Janna Farley, Communications Director for the South Dakota ACLU.

For the ACLU, the announcement goes beyond participation in sports. They argue it is also a move toward creating inclusive school environments to help all students, including those who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“This is great that people are finally saying out loud LGBTQ+ people deserve the same respect as anyone in our country, the same respect, and rights as anyone in the country,” said Farley.

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